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WASHINGTON D.C.-U.S. Senator Mark Begich issued the following statement on the USDAâ€™s approval of exploration permits in inventoried roadless areas for the Bokan and Woewodski projects:
“While I continue to disagree with the basic premise of the Roadless Area Conservation Rule, I appreciate the U.S. Forest Service Alaska Region’s attention to the needs of mining exploration and the important role mining plays in Southeast Alaska’s economy,” said Sen. Begich. “The action by the Forest Service is critical to moving these projects forward and helping to create some badly needed jobs in the region. In particular, I look forward to learning more about the Bokan project firsthand during my visit later this week.
“Unfortunately, the fact that permits for these projects continue to require special review in Washington D.C. underscores the need to re-instate the Tongass exemption to the roadless rule. Undersecretary Sherman and Chief Tidwell have been receptive to our outreach on behalf of these projects in Southeast Alaska, and I am grateful. However, I think we would all be better served with a little less bureaucracy.”
Regional Administrator Beth Pendelton announced today that helicopter-supported exploration drilling can move forward on two mining claims in the Tongass National Forest: Ucore’s Bokan Mountain rare earth prospect on Southeast Prince of Wales Island and a locally owned poly-metallic prospect on Woewodski Island, just north of Prince of Wales Island.
The news comes on the heels of Senator Begich’s attached request of U.S. Forest Service Chief, Tom Tidwell, to pay attention to the needs of important mining projects in the Tongass. If developed responsibly, both prospects hold the potential to improve Southeast Alaska’s economy and provide a good source of new jobs.