But the issue is far from resolved says Alaska’s congressional delegation
The U.S. State Department has taken a positive step to recognize the concerns some Alaskans have with upstream Canadian mining projects, but the issue is far from resolved, according to the members of Alaska’s congressional delegation.
Assistant Secretary of State for Legislative Affairs Julia Frifield wrote in an Oct. 6 letter to the delegation that the State Department is actively engaged with Canadian officials to protect the watersheds that bisect the U.S.-Canada border along Southeast Alaska.
“The Department of State intends to continue to work, in coordination with other U.S. government agencies, to ascertain what the Canadian federal government is doing to meet U.S. concerns about protecting this sensitive shared ecosystem from potential transboundary pollution during mine development, operation, impoundment design, and post-closure, and through bonding practices,” Frifield wrote.
The Oct. 6 correspondence was in response to a Sept. 8 joint letter from Sens. Lisa Murkowski and Dan Sullivan and Rep. Don Young to Secretary of State John Kerry requesting the State Department to establish a formal way for Canadian officials to consult with U.S. federal and state agencies and Alaska Native tribes during Canada’s mine permitting process, similar to the domestic environmental impact statement process. It was the second such letter the delegation has sent to Kerry since May.
Numerous Southeast Alaska environmental, commercial fishing, and Alaska Native groups have called for IJC involvement in recent years, but the commission can only be spurred by a formal call from either the State Department or Canada’s Global Affairs Department.
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