SitNews - Stories in the News - Ketchikan, Alaska

Viewpoints: Letters / Opinions

Open Letter to Alaska State Legislators

By Michael Goehring


July 18, 2021
Sunday PM

Dear Alaska State Legislators:

I am writing today in response to your May 7 letter sent to the Honourable John Horgan, Premier of British Columbia, expressing your concerns about the potential impacts of abandoned, active, and future mines on shared waterways between BC and Alaska.

To: Senator Jesse Kiehl
Speaker Louise Stutes
Rep. Dan Ortiz
Rep. Geran Tarr
Rep. Andi Story
Rep. Sara Hannan
Rep. Kevin McCabe
Rep. Jonathan Kreiss-Tomkins

From the perspective of the Mining Association of British Columbia (MABC), it is important to underscore the shared responsibility British Columbia, Alaska, and natural resource industries on both sides of the border hold to ensure the highest standards of environmental protection and transboundary water quality are in place.

As neighbors, we have a shared interest in responsible resource development that effectively balances environmental stewardship and economic development. We share your concern with declining salmon populations on both sides of the border and we have a shared obligation and duty to consult, accommodate and engage in partnerships with Indigenous nations on natural resources and other matters.

I would like to clarify for you the status and nature of the regulatory framework that governs British Columbia’s mining industry. Contrary to assertions in recent media reports that referenced your letter to Premier Horgan, British Columbia’s mining industry meets among the highest regulatory standards in the world for environmental assessment, operational permitting, compliance and enforcement, and post-closure monitoring and reclamation.

Over the past five years, the Government of British Columbia has made substantial changes to the regulatory regime governing mining. This includes changes to the Mines Act, the Health, Safety and Reclamation Code for Mines, BC’s water quality guidelines, and the creation of independent review boards for tailings management.

MABC and our members strongly support these policy and organizational improvements, including the 2019 reformulation of the Mines Health, Safety and Reclamation Division. Many BC mining operators have also adopted the Mining Association of Canada’s Towards Sustainable Mining (TSM) protocols which are internationally recognized best practices in tailings and water quality management.

We acknowledge your constituents’ concerns regarding the discharge from the Tulsequah Chief mine. Reclamation and closure of this site is imperative. We are pleased with the Province of British Columbia’s continuing efforts to advance options to move the site towards permanent closure and reclamation. We understand that senior officials with the Ministry of Energy, Mines and Low Carbon Innovation provided senior Alaska officials with a detailed briefing and update on these plans on May 19, 2021.

We are pleased with the results of the British Columbia and Alaska Transboundary Working Group on Monitoring (TWG-M). The science-based TWG-M, and the many Indigenous nations and stakeholders that contributed to the TWG-M sampling program found “the overall aquatic conditions of the Taku, Stikine, and Unuk transboundary rivers currently support and maintain aquatic life.” MABC strongly supports ongoing monitoring of these watersheds for potential impacts from mining activities.

We would also like to draw your attention to a recent audit of tailings storage facilities (TSFs) by the independent BC Mines Audit and Effectiveness Unit which compared BC’s regulatory framework with similar regulations in other major mining jurisdictions – including Alaska and Montana – on 13 elements of TSF management and engineering. The audit found BC’s regulatory framework for TSFs is among the best in the world.

To conclude, we share your interest in ensuring that transboundary watersheds are managed under the highest level of regulatory oversight and environmental protection. British Columbia’s mining industry is deeply committed to responsible resource development and fully supports the Government of British Columbia’s rigorous regulatory standards, which are backstopped by strict sanctions for non-compliance.

I trust this correspondence outlines for you our commitment to responsible mining and trans- boundary water quality management, along with the Government of British Columbia’s recent changes to regulation, compliance, and enforcement that applies to BC’s mining industry.


Michael Goehring
President & CEO
Mining Association of British Columbia
Vancouver, BC



Honourable John Horgan, Premier of British Columbia
Honourable Bruce Ralston, Minister of Energy, Mines and Low Carbon Innovation, Government of British Columbia
Office of the Governor of Alaska, Michael Dunleavy
Office of US Senator Lisa Murkowski
Office of Senator Dan Sullivan
Office of Congressman Don Young
Office of Department of State, Daniel Kachur
Mr. Kyle Moselle, Executive Director Alaska Department of Natural Resources Office of Project Management and Permitting
Mr. Branden Lee, Consul General, Consulate General of Canada, US Pacific Northwest
Mr. D. Brent Hardt, US Consul General in Vancouver
Ms. Karen Matthias, Honorary Canadian Consul General in Alaska
Mr. Fazil Mihlar, Deputy Minister, Energy, Mines and Low Carbon Innovation, Government of British Columbia
Mr. Kevin Jardine, Deputy Minister, Environment and Climate Change Strategy, Government of British Columbia
Mr. Silas Brownsey, Deputy Minister, Intergovernmental Relations Secretariat, Office of the Premier, Government of British Columbia
Mr. Peter Robb, Assistant Deputy Minister, Mines Competitiveness and Authorization Division, Ministry, Energy, Mines and Low Carbon Innovation, Government of British Columbia
Ms. Laurel Nash, Assistant Deputy Minister, Environmental Protection Division, Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy, Government of British Columbia
Mr. Tim McEwan, Senior Vice President, Corporate Affairs, Mining Association of British Columbia




Editor's Note:

The text of this letter was NOT edited by the SitNews Editor.

Received July 12, 2021 - Published July 18, 2021

Related Viewpoint:



Representations of facts and opinions are solely those of the writers and do not represent the opinions of Sitnews.


E-mail your letters & opinions to
Your full name, city and state are required for letter publication.

Published letters become the property of SitNews.

SitNews ©2020
Stories In The News
Ketchikan, Alaska

Articles & photographs that appear in SitNews are considered protected by copyright and may not be reprinted without written permission from and payment of any required fees to the proper sources.

E-mail your news & photos to

Photographers choosing to submit photographs for publication to SitNews are in doing so granting their permission for publication and for archiving. SitNews does not sell photographs. All requests for purchasing a photograph will be emailed to the photographer.