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Senate Joint Resolution 25 was introduced Feb. 18 by Sen. Berta Gardner, D- Anchorage, and referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee.
SJR 25 urges the Alaska Department of Law and the federal Justice Department to file a motion in the U.S. District Court to compel ExxonMobile to honor a commitment to pay additional damages for the Exxon Valdez oil spill under the “reopener for unknown injury” provision of the 1991 agreement and consent degree, and to collect the full demand for payment the state and federal government submitted to ExxonMobil in August 2006. The lengthy resolution also urges the Exxon Valdez Oil Spill Trustee Council to initiate subsurface lingering oil restoration work.
Rick Steiner, a conservation biologist who was a University of Alaska marine advisor for Prince William Sound at the time of the spill, said many Alaskans are profoundly disappointed in Exxon for not living up to its commitment made in the 1991 settlement, and not paying the government claim made in September 2006 for an additional $92 million, plus about $35 million in interest since then. “Every day the governments delay taking action to collect this claim and remediate this lingering Exxon Valdez oil is another day that nearshore vertebrates – sea otters, birds
In an effort to assure adequate escapement of salmon into the drainages of the Northern District of Upper Cook Inlet, the Alaska Board of Fisheries also offered more time for the drift gillnetters to fish for Kenai and Kasilof sockeye in early July, but restricted the inlet-wide fishery later in the month to allow for greater passage of northern bound salmon.
Sport anglers applauded the board’s decisions, while commercial harvesters said the changes would inhibit their harvests.
The decisions came during the board’s Upper Cook Inlet finfish meeting, which began Jan. 31 in Anchorage and continues through Feb. 13.
“Even when they go to hook and release… they continue to play and have a good time at the expense of East Side setnetters,” said Christine Brandt, a set net harvester from Soldotna, on the Kenai Peninsula. When they go to catch and release, setnetters get one 12-hour opener a week, with a mandatory 36-hour closure that has been in regulation for years, “ and we better hope we don’t miss the run,” she said. “If the run comes through on a Friday, it’s gone, and we lose big time.
“We’re still trying to recover from the 2012 season, and 2013
“Based on the results of the assessment, we are very concerned about the prospect of large-scale mining in the unique and biologically rich watersheds of Southwest Alaska’s Bristol Bay,” the scientists said, in their letter to UPA Administrator Gina McCarthy, and EPA Regional 10 Administrator Dennis McLerran.
“The preponderance of evidence presented in the watershed assessment indicates that large-scale hard rock mining in the Bristol Bay watershed threatens a world-class fishery and uniquely rich ecosystem, and we urge the administration to act quickly to protect the area,” the letter said.
The study, in its final document, concluded that mining of the scale of the proposed Pebble mine could destroy up to 94 miles of salmon-spawning streams and 5,350 acres of wetlands, lakes and ponds in the region. The assessment also said that failure of a tailings storage dam, releasing only a partial amount of stored tailings, would result in catastrophic effects on fishery resources, and the economies and cultures that depend on the fishery.
The Pebble Limited Partnership has criticized the report as a flawed analysis and has said it is continuing its effort toward submitting applications for federal and state permits to build the mine.
Prominent scientists who have
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