Legislature(2015 - 2016)BELTZ 105 (TSBldg)

10/12/2016 10:00 AM FISHERIES

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Audio Topic
10:00:00 AM Start
10:03:08 AM Presentation(s): Transboundary Issues
02:25:12 PM Adjourn
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
+ Transboundary Issues TELECONFERENCED
Opening Remarks:
- Representative Stutes, Chair, House Fisheries
- Lieutenant Governor Byron Mallott
Invited Speakers:
- President Richard Peterson, Central Council
Tlingit and Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska
- Rob Sanderson Jr., 2nd Vice President, Central
Council Tlingit and Haida Indian Tribes of
Alaska and Treasurer, United Tribal
Transboundary Mining Work
- Fred Olson Jr., Chair, United Tribal
Transboundary Mining Work Group and Vice
President, Organized Village of Kasaan
- Dr. Dave Chambers, P. Geop.- Founder/President,
Center for Science in Public Participation
Chip Treinen, United Fishermen of Alaska
- Dr. Daniel Schindler, Professor of Fisheries
Aquatic Sciences, University of Washington
- Bev Sellars, Chair, First Nations Women
Advocating Responsible Mining
- Jacinda Mack, Coordinator, First Nations Women
Advocating Responsible Mining
Lunch Break 12:00-12:30 pm
Public Testimony until 4:00 pm
2 minutes per speaker
                    ALASKA STATE LEGISLATURE                                                                                  
              HOUSE SPECIAL COMMITTEE ON FISHERIES                                                                            
                        October 12, 2016                                                                                        
                           10:00 a.m.                                                                                           
MEMBERS PRESENT                                                                                                               
Representative Louise Stutes, Chair (via teleconference)                                                                        
Representative Jonathan Kreiss-Tomkins (via teleconference)                                                                     
Representative Dan Ortiz                                                                                                        
Representative Charisse Millett (via teleconference)                                                                            
MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                                                                
Representative Neal Foster                                                                                                      
Representative Bob Herron                                                                                                       
Representative Craig Johnson                                                                                                    
OTHER LEGISLATORS PRESENT                                                                                                     
Representative Cathy Munoz                                                                                                      
Representative Sam Kito                                                                                                         
Senator Dennis Egan                                                                                                             
COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                                                                            
PRESENTATION(S):  TRANSBOUNDARY ISSUES                                                                                          
     - HEARD                                                                                                                    
PREVIOUS COMMITTEE ACTION                                                                                                     
No previous action to record                                                                                                    
WITNESS REGISTER                                                                                                              
BARBARA BLAKE, Special Assistant                                                                                                
Office of the Lieutenant Governor                                                                                               
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:  Presented transboundary issues, as an                                                                    
invited speaker.                                                                                                                
RICHARD PETERSON, President                                                                                                     
Central Council Tlingit & Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska                                                                         
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION  STATEMENT:    Presented  transboundary  issues,  as  an                                                             
invited speaker.                                                                                                                
FREDERICK OLSEN, JR., Tribal Vice President                                                                                     
Organized Village of Kasaan                                                                                                     
Chair, United Tribal Transboundary Mining Work Group                                                                            
Kasaan, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION  STATEMENT:    Presented  transboundary  issues,  as  an                                                             
invited speaker.                                                                                                                
KIRSTEN SHELTON, Project Manager                                                                                                
McDowell Group                                                                                                                  
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION  STATEMENT:    Presented  transboundary  issues,  as  an                                                             
invited speaker.                                                                                                                
DAVID CHAMBERS, PhD                                                                                                             
Professional Geophysicist                                                                                                       
President, Center for Science in Public Participation                                                                           
Bozeman, Montana                                                                                                                
POSITION  STATEMENT:    Presented  transboundary  issues,  as  an                                                             
invited speaker.                                                                                                                
CHIP TREINEN, Vice President                                                                                                    
Southeast Herring Conservation Alliance                                                                                         
United Fishermen of Alaska (UFA)                                                                                                
Fish Farm and Environmental Committee                                                                                           
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION  STATEMENT:    Presented  transboundary  issues,  as  an                                                             
invited speaker.                                                                                                                
DANIEL SCHINDLER, PhD, Professor                                                                                                
School of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences                                                                                        
University of Washington                                                                                                        
Seattle, Washington                                                                                                             
POSITION  STATEMENT:    Presented  transboundary  issues,  as  an                                                             
invited speaker.                                                                                                                
BEV SELLARS, Chief                                                                                                              
Xat'sull First Nation                                                                                                           
First Nations Women Advocating Responsible Mining (FNWARM)                                                                      
Soda Creek, British Columbia                                                                                                    
POSITION  STATEMENT:    Presented  transboundary  issues,  as  an                                                             
invited speaker.                                                                                                                
JACINDA MACK, Council Coordinator                                                                                               
Secwepemc Nation                                                                                                                
First Nations Women Advocating Responsible Mining (FNWARM)                                                                      
Soda Creek, British Columbia                                                                                                    
POSITION STATEMENT:  Presented transboundary issues, as an                                                                    
invited speaker.                                                                                                                
HEATHER HARDCASTLE, Director                                                                                                    
Salmon Beyond Borders                                                                                                           
Co-Owner, Taku River Reds                                                                                                       
Douglas, Alaska                                                                                                                 
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified on transboundary issues.                                                                       
JILL WEITZ, Campaign Manager                                                                                                    
Salmon Beyond Borders                                                                                                           
Douglas, Alaska                                                                                                                 
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified on transboundary issues.                                                                       
GUY ARCHIBALD, Coordinator                                                                                                      
Mining and Clean Water                                                                                                          
Southeast Alaska Conservation Council (SEACC)                                                                                   
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified on transboundary issues.                                                                       
JACKIE PERRY                                                                                                                    
Meyers Chuck, Alaska                                                                                                            
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified on transboundary issues.                                                                       
DORIS CELLARIUS, Affiliate                                                                                                      
International Union for the Conservation of Nature                                                                              
Prescott, Arizona                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified on transboundary issues.                                                                       
DAVID PERRY, Commercial Fisherman                                                                                               
Meyers Chuck, Alaska                                                                                                            
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified on transboundary issues.                                                                       
ERIC FORRER                                                                                                                     
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified on transboundary issues.                                                                       
CHRISTINE NIEMI                                                                                                                 
Douglas, Alaska                                                                                                                 
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified on transboundary issues.                                                                       
LUKE BROCKMANN                                                                                                                  
Auke Bay, Alaska                                                                                                                
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified on transboundary issues.                                                                       
KATHRIN MCCARTHY                                                                                                                
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified on transboundary issues.                                                                       
LARRY WEST, Naturalist                                                                                                          
Boat Company                                                                                                                    
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified on transboundary issues.                                                                       
LAURA STATS                                                                                                                     
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified on transboundary issues.                                                                       
MEREDITH TRAINOR, Executive Director                                                                                            
Southeast Alaska Conservation Council (SEACC)                                                                                   
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified on transboundary issues.                                                                       
BRETT COLLINS                                                                                                                   
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified on transboundary issues.                                                                       
MELANIE BROWN, Member                                                                                                           
Naknek Tribe                                                                                                                    
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified on transboundary issues.                                                                       
MARGO WARING                                                                                                                    
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified on transboundary issues.                                                                       
MARC WHEELER, Owner                                                                                                             
Copa Coffee Café                                                                                                                
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified on transboundary issues.                                                                       
ANN FULLER                                                                                                                      
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified on transboundary issues.                                                                       
CHRIS MILLER, Commercial Fisherman                                                                                              
Member, Juneau Douglas Alaska Department of Fish and Game                                                                       
Regional Advisory Committee                                                                                                     
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified on transboundary issues.                                                                       
EMILY FERRY, Deputy Director                                                                                                    
Southeast Alaska Conservation Council (SEACC)                                                                                   
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified on transboundary issues.                                                                       
ELIAS FERRY, Elementary School Student                                                                                          
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified on transboundary issues.                                                                       
JON WARRENCHUCK, Senior Scientist                                                                                               
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified on transboundary issues.                                                                       
JAMES SCHRAMEK, Hydrologist                                                                                                     
Wrangell, Alaska                                                                                                                
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified on transboundary issues.                                                                       
JOEL JACKSON, Vice President                                                                                                    
Organized Village of Kake                                                                                                       
Kake, Alaska                                                                                                                    
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified on transboundary issues.                                                                       
AARON ANGERMAN, Tribal Administrator                                                                                            
Wrangell Cooperative Association                                                                                                
Spokesman, Stikine Tribe                                                                                                        
Wrangell, Alaska                                                                                                                
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified on transboundary issues.                                                                       
KEVIN MAIER                                                                                                                     
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified on transboundary issues.                                                                       
SHAYNE GUTHRIE, Student                                                                                                         
University of Alaska Southeast (UAS)                                                                                            
Metlakatla, Alaska                                                                                                              
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified on transboundary issues.                                                                       
BEN KIRKPATRICK, Habitat Biologist                                                                                              
Haines, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified on transboundary issues.                                                                       
ACTION NARRATIVE                                                                                                              
10:00:00 AM                                                                                                                   
CHAIR  LOUISE  STUTES  called  the  House  Special  Committee  on                                                             
Fisheries meeting to order at  10:00 a.m.  Representatives Stutes                                                               
(via  teleconference), Millett  (via  teleconference), and  Ortiz                                                               
were  present  at the  call  to  order.   Representative  Kreiss-                                                               
Tomkins  (via  teleconference)  arrived  as the  meeting  was  in                                                               
progress.  Also  present were Representatives Munoz  and Kito and                                                               
Senator Egan.                                                                                                                   
^PRESENTATION(S):  Transboundary Issues                                                                                         
             PRESENTATION(S):  Transboundary Issues                                                                         
10:03:08 AM                                                                                                                   
CHAIR STUTES announced  that the only order of  business would be                                                               
a presentation  of transboundary  issues followed by  invited and                                                               
public testimony.                                                                                                               
10:04:28 AM                                                                                                                   
BARBARA  BLAKE,  Special  Assistant,  Office  of  the  Lieutenant                                                               
Governor,  directed attention  to the  committee packet,  and the                                                               
statement  of  cooperation  ["APPENDIX  I to  the  Memorandum  of                                                               
Understanding  and cooperation  between the  State of  Alaska and                                                               
the Province  of British Columbia  executed November 25,  2015 by                                                               
the Honorable Bill  Walker, Governor of Alaska  and the Honorable                                                               
Christy Clark, Premier  of British Columbia Between  The State of                                                               
Alaska Departments  of Environmental Conservation, Fish  and Game                                                               
and  Natural  Resources  And The  Province  of  British  Columbia                                                               
Ministries  of  Environment,  and   Energy  and  Mines"].    This                                                               
statement of cooperation (SOC), she  said, was developed over the                                                               
last  18 months  based on  the  feedback from  the engagement  of                                                               
numerous    entities    including:        stakeholders,    tribal                                                               
representatives, federal, and state officials.   The SOC provides                                                               
specific  directives,  which  include:   collection  of  baseline                                                               
water quality data  on transboundary waters and  development of a                                                               
joint monitoring program  to help identify any  future changes in                                                               
water  quality   or  ecosystem   health;  development   of  joint                                                               
opportunities with  British Columbia (BC), Canada,  to facilitate                                                               
the participation of  all state, federal, and  tribal entities in                                                               
the permitting and environmental  review process of transboundary                                                               
projects;  ensure  that the  state,  federal,  tribal and  public                                                               
entities have access to current  information on the environmental                                                               
performance  of closed  and  operating mines,  as  well as  other                                                               
significant  commercial developments,  in transboundary  regions;                                                               
engage  with  British  Columbia  (B.C.)   to  address  issues  of                                                               
broader  concern to  include government  oversight of  the design                                                               
and  maintenance of  tailing  facilities.   The  signing of  this                                                               
document, she  stressed, represents the beginning  point for this                                                               
ongoing,  collaborative  work.    The Office  of  the  Lieutenant                                                               
Governor  acknowledges the  necessity to  hold further  meetings,                                                               
such as  today's hearing, to  further the  effort.  To  that end,                                                               
regularly scheduled,  monthly meetings are being  held to address                                                               
the provisions  set forth  in the agreement.   She  reported that                                                               
Lieutenant  Governor   Byron  Mallott  has   committed  continued                                                               
support of  other efforts that  are involved with  the protection                                                               
of Alaskan  water quality,  as related to  the protection  of the                                                               
transboundary  rivers,   including  initiatives  that   are  area                                                               
10:08:21 AM                                                                                                                   
RICHARD  PETERSON, President,  Central  Council  Tlingit &  Haida                                                               
Indian Tribes of  Alaska (CCTHITA), said this issue  relates on a                                                               
personal  level  as  many tribal  members  track  their  historic                                                               
lineage  to  specific   rivers  and  share  a   concern  for  the                                                               
headwaters  of  the  watersheds from  which  they  sustain  their                                                               
customary  and  traditional ways  of  life.    He  said it  is  a                                                               
collective concern,  encompassing the existence of  all Southeast                                                               
Alaskan residents,  indigenous and not,  who depend on  the water                                                               
resources.  The  rivers provide an economic as  well as spiritual                                                               
sustenance.  Currently the state is  in an economic pinch and all                                                               
of Southeast, and  parts of the Gulf of Alaska,  depends on being                                                               
able to  harvest the  seafood spawned in  the watersheds  of this                                                               
region.   He acknowledged that  tourism also provides jobs  and a                                                               
host of  opportunities.   The recent  Mount Polley  mine tailings                                                               
breach,  endured   by  the  Canadian  counterparts   of  Alaska's                                                               
Natives, has tribal  members terrified that it  will happen here.                                                               
Such an occurrence  would preclude the Natives,  and others, from                                                               
sustaining  their   historic  way  of  life,   he  stressed,  and                                                               
characterized the  devastation the  British Columbia  (B.C.) mine                                                               
breach  created acquainting  it to  the detonation  of an  atomic                                                               
bomb.  The  same company, using the same design  for retention of                                                               
tailings,  is  operating  in  Alaska's  Southeast  region.    Any                                                               
development  that  poses  the  risk  of  such  a  high  level  of                                                               
destruction is not an activity  that many can support, he opined,                                                               
and  offered  that  his   stance  is  typically  pro-development.                                                               
However, the stakes  are too high and a failure,  on the scale of                                                               
Mount Polley, would decimate the  fishing industry and our way of                                                               
life  in Southeast,  he stressed.    The Central  Council of  the                                                               
Tlingit and  Haida Indian  Tribes of  Alaska (CCTHITA)  has taken                                                               
the  lead  for  monitoring  the  river  systems  through  funding                                                               
provided by the  Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA).   Concerns exist                                                               
due to the state not stepping  up to the plate to obtain baseline                                                               
monitoring, which  is crucial  information to  be gathered.   The                                                               
central council  has hired an  environmental consulting  firm and                                                               
gathers  data on  a monthly  basis from  a number  of watersheds.                                                               
The  state should  assume  the leadership  of  this endeavor,  he                                                               
suggested.  The  CCTHITA recently hosted a number  of meetings to                                                               
facilitate interactions between U.S.  and Canadian tribal leaders                                                               
in  Ketchikan and  Juneau.   During the  course of  the meetings,                                                               
CCTHITA lodged  a request with the  U.S. Environmental Protection                                                               
Agency (EPA) to match the  BIA funds, supporting the continuation                                                               
of  the  baseline   water  analysis  research.     He  cited  the                                                               
International Treaty  to Protect  the Salish Sea  [Vancouver, BC,                                                               
Canada, September 21, 2014] as  a ground breaking example of what                                                               
could be  used as  a model  to protect  Southeast.   Mr. Peterson                                                               
voiced the  need for state  to invoke actions including:   taking                                                               
an  instrumental  position  in  water  quality  monitoring;  take                                                               
measures  for  protecting   endangered  salmon  runs;  strengthen                                                               
working relations between  agencies; and acknowledge/champion the                                                               
need  to honor  the Native's  government  rights.   He shared  an                                                               
anecdote  to  illustrate  the   dismissive  actions  he  recently                                                               
encountered  during meetings  with  industry officials  regarding                                                               
the condition  of the Unuk  River.  He  pointed out to  them that                                                               
the CCTHIA  has identified  a depletion of  salmon stocks  on the                                                               
Unuk River,  and considers the  run to be  in great danger.   The                                                               
officials  appeared  to  be frustrated  with  the  questions  and                                                               
concerns posed  by the Alaskan  tribal leaders.   When questioned                                                               
about a  specific salmon  run, the  dismissive response  was that                                                               
the run is strong on the  Canadian side; despite the Unuk being a                                                               
shared watershed.   "It's  all the same  water," he  pointed out.                                                               
The  signing of  the statement  of cooperation  (SOC) is  a first                                                               
step,  he  stressed,  and  expressed   optimism  for  having  the                                                               
document  refined   and  honed  through  continued   input.    He                                                               
underscored the  need for the  tribal sovereign government  to be                                                               
recognized  as  a  peer  of other  government  entities,  not  as                                                               
stakeholders.   He  recounted the  various  connections that  the                                                               
CCTHIA  is cultivating  with  tribes of  the  immediate area,  to                                                               
strengthen  relationships, as  well  as  meetings in  Washington,                                                               
D.C.,  to unite  with  the  First Nations  Tribal  Assembly.   He                                                               
expressed   specific  concern   with   the   SOC  stating   that,                                                               
economically,  the  B.C government  has  everything  to gain  and                                                               
Alaska nothing.   The negative  economic impacts that  would need                                                               
to  be   shouldered  by  Alaska,   in  the  event  of   a  mining                                                               
catastrophe, could  be huge, as  well as the  socioeconomic costs                                                               
to the future generations of Alaskans, he finished.                                                                             
10:20:22 AM                                                                                                                   
REPRESENTATIVE MUNOZ  inquired about the amount  of funding being                                                               
provided by  the BIA,  and whether  it is  being provided  in the                                                               
form of a multi-year commitment.                                                                                                
10:20:28 AM                                                                                                                   
MR. PETERSON responded  that the BIA has made  contributions on a                                                               
year to  year basis,  not as a  multi-year contract,  and funding                                                               
has been  in the neighborhood  of $80,000 to  $100,000, annually.                                                               
He offered to provide further details to the committee.                                                                         
10:21:43 AM                                                                                                                   
FREDERICK OLSEN,  JR., Tribal  Vice President,  Organized Village                                                               
of Kasaan, Chair, United Tribal  Transboundary Mining Work Group,                                                               
commented on the  current economy and stock market  and how there                                                               
is an illusion  of the current lifestyle and  standard of living.                                                               
Companies are  driven to do  better and better every  year, which                                                               
is  not  sustainable, he  opined.    In  reality,  we live  in  a                                                               
pristine,  temperate  rainforest,  where the  tribes  have  lived                                                               
their way  of life  for thousands of  years and  never considered                                                               
they  owned the  land,  but rather  co-exist in  a  way with  the                                                               
animals,  while also  acting as  stewards.   The Natives  are now                                                               
akin to the  canaries that were once used in  the coal mines, and                                                               
stated as follows:                                                                                                              
     We are  singing for our  survival.  Meanwhile  as we're                                                                    
     speaking, right  this second, the Tulsequah  Chief mine                                                                    
     [British  Columbia, Canada,  at the  confluence of  the                                                                    
     Taku  and Tulsequah  Rivers] continues  to pollute  the                                                                    
     Taku River watershed.                                                                                                      
MR.  OLSEN continued  that we  live at  a time  of transition  to                                                               
either move  toward the future  and live  in dome cities  and eat                                                               
pills  for food,  he predicted,  or awake  from the  illusion and                                                               
take a different approach.  Figuring  it out may not be easy, but                                                               
neither was  going to  the moon and  "people without  cell phones                                                               
went to the moon," he said.   Approach matters, he offered.  When                                                               
President Ronald Reagan  removed the solar panels  from the White                                                               
House it was  a major event that was probably  not covered by the                                                               
news media;  however, our world  is much different now  from that                                                               
small action.   Similar to approach, words  matter, he continued.                                                               
If  something   carries  the  moniker  of   a  "tailings  storage                                                               
facility"   it  merits   different  attention   and  is   treated                                                               
differently  than a  lake of  poison  that's held  back by  sand.                                                               
Mount Polley  had a lake of  poison held back by  sand, which was                                                               
supposed  to last  forever  but  failed in  less  than 20  years.                                                               
Equivalent retention  engineering is what is  being used/proposed                                                               
at other  Canadian mining facilities  that are many  times larger                                                               
than  Mount Polley.   The  frustration of  being downstream  from                                                               
these large  scale mines  has brought  the majority  of Southeast                                                               
Alaskan's to  rally in  opposition.  However,  the real  fight is                                                               
being waged across  the border and it is important  to unite with                                                               
Canadian counterparts, who are also  adverse to such development.                                                               
Mr. Olsen  said efforts  to prop-up the  failing oil  industry is                                                               
futile, opining that  oil is old news and  represents an industry                                                               
in decline.   He conjectured  that patents for  electric vehicles                                                               
have  been  bought  by  controlling  entities,  which  will  only                                                               
release the patents when their  companies have benefited from the                                                               
sale of the  last cup of oil.   The issue is not  a Native issue,                                                               
but  rather  a human  health  issue,  requiring intervention  and                                                               
assistance from  the state legislature.   He  posed rhetorically,                                                               
"Is  our way  of  life, our  very  lives, just  a  cost of  doing                                                               
business;  is  this what  we've  come  to?"   It's  important  to                                                               
identify who it is that  supports mining which uses these methods                                                               
on  this scale,  he  stressed and  suggested  that advocates  are                                                               
people bought and paid for by  the industry, as well as outsiders                                                               
to the  region who would be  unaffected by the consequences  of a                                                               
failure.   Such people may  only be in the  area for the  50 year                                                               
life  of  the  mine,  whereas   the  generational  populace  will                                                               
continue to live with the outfall  for hundreds of years.  Nor do                                                               
these  supporters have  constituents to  which they  must answer.                                                               
He acknowledged that  a popular illusion exists  that mining jobs                                                               
are the primary/only economy available  in the area, which is not                                                               
true.    Further  the  illusion  extends  that  being  against  a                                                               
particular  mine,  for  whatever   reasons,  acquaints  to  being                                                               
against all mining.  Again, he  assured, this is not accurate and                                                               
such  accusations  need  to  be   dispelled.    A  2012  Canadian                                                               
statistic, indicates  that for every  $1 million invested  in the                                                               
oil and  gas development, 2  jobs are  created, but for  the same                                                               
investment in  clean energy 15  jobs are created.   Recalling the                                                               
Mount  Polly  disaster,  he  noted   that  it's  unfathomable  to                                                               
consider not  being able to harvest  fish, but for the  people of                                                               
that area  getting no fish is  a reality that will  continue into                                                               
the  foreseeable   future.     An  independent   panel,  convened                                                               
specifically  to  address  the  disaster,  provided  an  official                                                               
directive  that  business  as  usual should  not  be  allowed  to                                                               
continue.   However, within  one year the  Mount Polley  mine has                                                               
resumed full operations and the  lake of poison may have breached                                                               
a  second time,  due to  a recent  rain storm,  he reported.   He                                                               
pleaded   for  the   legislature  to   assist  in   obtaining  an                                                               
International Joint Commission  (IJC) referral.  The  IJC acts as                                                               
the governing body for the  [International Boundary Waters Treaty                                                             
Act,  R.S., c.  I-20,  s. 1;  January 11,  1909],  agreed to  and                                                             
signed  by the  U.S. and  Canada to  address this  exact type  of                                                               
issue  and ensure  that the  two federal  governments would  work                                                               
together.   The most familiar  aspect of  the named act  (Act) is                                                               
Article IV,  dealing with harm,  or potential harm,  inflicted by                                                               
one party on the other.   Today's hearing is focused on potential                                                               
harm,  however,  harm has  already  occurred  with the  Tulsequah                                                               
Chief mine.   Continuing,  he said Article  IX allows  that, from                                                               
time  to time,  these articles  may require  review.   Alaska has                                                               
never  been a  party  of an  IJC referral,  he  pointed out,  and                                                               
suggested that, given that it's  hundred years-plus since the Act                                                               
was signed, perhaps  it's time for Alaska to be  referred to, and                                                               
receive  oversight from,  the commission.    Although some  might                                                               
refer to  this as federal overreach,  he opined that such  a view                                                               
should be considered  code for "the polluters or  the people that                                                               
are  looking the  other way  because they  have some  interest in                                                               
this mine."   He suggested  that federal under-reach  is actually                                                               
occurring and recalled the severe  pollution that resulted in the                                                               
river fire  [Cuyahoga River, Cleveland, Ohio,  1969], despite the                                                               
fact that rivers don't typically  catch fire, and resulted in the                                                               
passage  of  the  [Clean  Water   Act].    We  need  the  federal                                                               
government to  uphold its fiduciary  trust responsibility  to its                                                               
tribes  but  also  to  attend  to the  very  health  of  all  its                                                               
citizens.  The  statement of cooperation (SOC) is  nice, he said,                                                               
but stressed  that this is  an international situation.   The SOC                                                               
agreement  is limited  in scope,  he cautioned,  and offered  the                                                               
analogy  of   a  community  forming  a   neighborhood  watch  but                                                               
understanding that there is still a need to have police.                                                                        
10:37:20 AM                                                                                                                   
MR.  OLSEN pointed  out that  a  myth also  exists that  up-front                                                               
financial  assurances  will  provide  a level  of  protection  to                                                               
assure a  good end result, but  no amount of money  can reclaim a                                                               
lost way  of life.   He queried  whether the Last  Frontier isn't                                                               
something  to protect,  versus  paving over.    He beseeched  the                                                               
committee to figure out the transboundary mining issue stating:                                                                 
     There's  two kinds  of Alaskan's:   there's  Alas-kans,                                                                    
     and there's  Alas-kan'ts.  And  I believe ...  that the                                                                    
     majority of  good people are  Alas-kans, and  we figure                                                                    
     it out.  We don't look for  a way over ... [ph] over in                                                                    
     Alaska and  we can't do  that.  No, we're  an Alas-kan,                                                                    
     and we  do it.  ...   [The transboundary issue  is] not                                                                    
     going away,  it's going  to get  bigger and  bigger and                                                                    
     bigger.   ...   It's not when  will a  disaster happen,                                                                    
     but rather how  bad.  ...  For the  Native people it is                                                                    
     not  about fish  and eating  calories, it's  about this                                                                    
     fish, from this river, caught  by these people, in this                                                                    
     way, and  prepared in  a certain  manner that  has been                                                                    
     done for centuries  by our people.  I  would never sell                                                                    
     you this [held  up a jar of  personally canned salmon],                                                                    
     I might give this to you,  but I would never sell this;                                                                    
     this is our way of life.                                                                                                   
10:39:38 AM                                                                                                                   
REPRESENTATIVE ORTIZ  highlighted the recent rededication  of the                                                               
Tribal Long  House, in Kasaan,  as an exceptional,  notable event                                                               
for the community.                                                                                                              
10:41:09 AM                                                                                                                   
KIRSTEN  SHELTON, Project  Manager,  McDowell  Group, reviewed  a                                                               
commissioned report,  contained in  the committee  packet, titled                                                               
"Economic   Impact  Analysis,   Southeast  Alaska   Transboundary                                                               
Watersheds, Executive Summary," dated  October 2016, prepared for                                                               
SalmonState, by  the McDowell Group.   The study  encompassed the                                                               
Taku,  Stikine  and  Unuk River  watersheds  with  a  preliminary                                                               
analysis  of the  Nass  and Skeena  Rivers,  which, although  not                                                               
transboundary rivers, also impact  Southeast Alaska.  She offered                                                               
the caveat  that healthy eco-systems  are more valuable  than the                                                               
economic impacts  that can  be ascribed to  them, thus  the study                                                               
does  not measure  intrinsic values  or non-user  values, but  is                                                               
limited to the economic activities  connected to jobs, labor, and                                                               
indirect  and   induced  impacts  as  money   flows  through  the                                                               
communities in the region.   Additional challenges also came into                                                               
play   in  formulating   the  report,   such  as   crediting  the                                                               
appropriate  watershed   for  spawning   an  untagged   fish,  or                                                               
activities that  tend to overlap  all areas such as  tourism, and                                                               
other   economically   supported    endeavors.      Given   these                                                               
restrictions, she  said the best  available data was  utilized to                                                               
produce some  insights into the significant  economic impacts for                                                               
the region.                                                                                                                     
10:43:18 AM                                                                                                                   
MS. SHELTON  paraphrased from the  a slide to present  the bullet                                                               
point review of  the economic findings related to  the Taku River                                                               
watershed,   which   read   as  follows   [original   punctuation                                                               
     Fishermen  receive an  annual average  $1.9 million  in                                                                    
     ex-vessel value for harvests of Taku River salmon.                                                                         
     An  average $4.2  million in  first wholesale  value of                                                                    
     Taku River salmon is processed in Southeast annually.                                                                      
     Taku River Chinook and coho  salmon are responsible for                                                                    
     an  average  $2.7   million  in  sport  fishing-related                                                                    
     Approximately  $80,000 worth  of Taku  River salmon  is                                                                    
     harvested annually in the personal use fishery.                                                                            
     Hunting  expenditures  total   $65,000  on  average  in                                                                    
     annual spending for hunting in the watershed.                                                                              
     Visitor  industry  activity  tied  to  the  Taku  River                                                                    
     watershed  generates   an  estimated  $16   million  in                                                                    
     visitor expenditures annually.                                                                                             
     The  City  and Borough  of  Juneau  receives an  annual                                                                    
     average  of   $55,000  in  tax  revenue   from  private                                                                    
     property in the watershed.                                                                                                 
MS. SHELTON continued that the Taku River watershed contributes                                                                 
about $33 million to the economy of Southeast, with a labor                                                                     
value of approximately $13 million.                                                                                             
10:44:12 AM                                                                                                                   
MS. SHELTON  paraphrased from the  a slide to present  the bullet                                                               
point  review of  the economic  findings related  to the  Stikine                                                               
River  watershed, which  read  as  follows [original  punctuation                                                               
     Commercial  fishermen are  paid  an  annual average  of                                                                    
     $2.1  million  in  ex-vessel value  for  Stikine  River                                                                    
     Seafood processors generate an  average $3.5 million in                                                                    
     first   wholesale   value   annually   processing   and                                                                    
     packaging Stikine River salmon.                                                                                            
     An average $4.2  million per year is  expended on sport                                                                    
     fishing for Stikine River Chinook and coho salmon.                                                                         
     An average  $100,000 worth of  Stikine River  salmon is                                                                    
     harvested annually in the personal use fishery.                                                                            
     Hunters spend an annual average  of $200,000 hunting in                                                                    
     the watershed.                                                                                                             
     Tours   in  the   watershed  and   watershed-associated                                                                    
     visitor  industry  activity  in  Wrangell  generate  an                                                                    
     average  $1.2 million  in expenditures  by visitors  to                                                                    
     the Stikine River.                                                                                                         
     Private   property  in   the  watershed   accounts  for                                                                    
     approximately $15,000  in tax revenue each  year to the                                                                    
     City and Borough of Wrangell, Alaska.                                                                                      
MS. SHELTON stated that the  Stikine River represents an economic                                                               
footprint of roughly $13 million,  income from labor of nearly $6                                                               
million, and  that over 100  jobs are associated with  the river.                                                               
She pointed  out that many more  residents may earn a  portion of                                                               
their annual income  based on work that can be  attributed to the                                                               
10:45:11 AM                                                                                                                   
MS. SHELTON pointed out that the  Unuk is unique to the other two                                                               
watersheds, being more isolated,  but certainly significant.  She                                                               
then paraphrased  from the  a slide to  present the  bullet point                                                               
review  of  the  economic  findings related  to  the  Unuk  River                                                               
watershed,   which   read   as  follows   [original   punctuation                                                               
     Fishermen are  paid an annual  average $460,000  in ex-                                                                    
     vessel value for Unuk River salmon harvests.                                                                               
     An annual average $890,000 in  first wholesale value is                                                                    
     attributable to Unuk River salmon.                                                                                         
     Sport fishing  for Unuk River  Chinook and  coho salmon                                                                    
     generates    $880,000    in    sport    fishing-related                                                                    
     expenditures annually.                                                                                                     
     Hunters spend  an annual average of  $13,000 on hunting                                                                    
     activity in the watershed.                                                                                                 
     The  visitor  industry   generates  an  average  annual                                                                    
     $6,300  in  visitor  expenditures associated  with  the                                                                    
      The Ketchikan Gateway Borough benefits annually from                                                                      
      an average $11,000 in property tax revenue from Unuk                                                                      
     River watershed private properties.                                                                                        
MS.  SHELTON summarized,  stating that  the Unuk  River watershed                                                               
contributes about $2.5 million to the economy of Southeast.                                                                     
10:45:46 AM                                                                                                                   
MS. SHELTON provided a slide  to summarize the economic impact of                                                               
the three  systems combined,  across all  sectors, to  state that                                                               
the  total average  annual  employment is  400,  the total  labor                                                               
income  is approximately  $20 million  and  the overall  economic                                                               
activity  totals  $48  million.     However,  the  value  of  the                                                               
watersheds,  she  stressed, relies  on  the  renewability of  the                                                               
resources.    Managed  appropriately, this  economic  value  will                                                               
continue  in perpetuity.    Thus, an  extrapolation  was made  to                                                               
project  the  value over  50  years  and  $1.2 billion  could  be                                                               
realized  from the  three watersheds  combined.   In response  to                                                               
Representative Ortiz,  she said the  full report is  available at                                                               
the McDowell Group website.                                                                                                     
10:49:00 AM                                                                                                                   
DAVID  CHAMBERS,   PhD,  Professional   Geophysicist,  President,                                                               
Center  for Science  in Public  Participation,  said that  mining                                                               
activities pose a number of  potential environmental impacts that                                                               
vary  from a  de minimis  scale through  an entire  spectrum that                                                               
includes  cumulative  impacts on  water  quality.   The  ultimate                                                               
impact is  a tailings dam  failure.  He  explained that he  and a                                                               
colleague have  been studying  historical data;  information that                                                               
government agencies have not routinely  tracked or compiled.  The                                                               
scope  of  the  report  covers tailing  dam  failures  from  1936                                                               
through  the present,  and  he directed  attention  to the  study                                                               
handout, contained in  the committee packet, titled  "GAPS IN THE                                                               
NEW (2016)  CODE REGULATING TAILINGS  DAMS IN  BRITISH COLUMBIA."                                                               
The  intent of  the undertaking  has been  twofold:   to identify                                                               
means  to prevent  future failures;  and to  provide compensation                                                               
and mitigation  measures for  the losses  incurred by  any future                                                               
failures.   The first of  two data analysis slides,  contained in                                                               
the  handout,   titled  "Increasing  Severity  of   TSF  Failures                                                               
Globally 1936-2015," provided a bar  graph plotting the number of                                                               
failures during  that span of  time, as  well as to  indicate the                                                               
severity.  The second slide,  titled "Active TSF Failures (N=125)                                                               
By Mode,"  provided a bar graph  to illustrate the causes  of the                                                               
failures, as well as the severity.   After a detailed analysis of                                                               
the   data,  he   summarized  the   findings   from  each   graph                                                               
respectively, stating:                                                                                                          
     Although  we're seeing  the total  number of  accidents                                                                    
     decrease,  those  two   serious  categories  are  still                                                                    
     increasing at  a relatively constant  rate.  ...   With                                                                    
     the   exception  of   erosion   and   to  some   extent                                                                    
     structural,  it's all  pretty much  the same  ...   You                                                                    
     really  can't  point your  finger  at  any one  failure                                                                    
     mode, ... there  are a number of  them, [and] basically                                                                    
     all of them  are significant.  What that says  to us is                                                                    
     that there's some more fundamental  issue going on here                                                                    
     with these failures.  We  can't just say, "Well, people                                                                    
     don't  know  how  to design  them  for  earthquakes  or                                                                    
10:57:25 AM                                                                                                                   
DR. CHAMBERS referred  to the seminal report on  the Mount Polley                                                               
tailings storage  facility (TSF)  breach, conducted  and compiled                                                               
by what  has been deemed  the expert  committee.  He  opined that                                                               
several profound findings have surfaced  from the report.  First,                                                               
tailings dam fail at a rate  approximately 10 times that of water                                                               
supply reservoir dams.  There is  no technical reason for this to                                                               
happen, as a dam is a dam  regardless of what it is retaining, he                                                               
said, and suggested  the possibility of fundamental  flaws in the                                                               
engineering  plans.   The  second  finding  is that  safety,  not                                                               
economics, should  be the primary  consideration in  tailings dam                                                               
design and  operation.  It  is apparent, he said,  that economics                                                               
clearly drives the  design and operation of  tailings dams, which                                                               
is in contrast  to the safety first approach used  as the primary                                                               
design and  driving mechanism for  the operation of  water supply                                                               
dams.   "We  just can't  afford not  to take  this recommendation                                                               
forward," he stressed, and said:                                                                                                
     Basically, the way  the system works is  a company will                                                                    
     say  ... "I've  got $40  million  to build  a dam;  you                                                                    
     build the best  dam you can build me  for $40 million."                                                                    
     When  the real  question or  approach should  be:   "We                                                                    
     want to  build a dam in  this spot, what's it  going to                                                                    
     cost us to  build a safe dam in this  position."  That,                                                                    
     unfortunately is not the way it's done.                                                                                    
DR.  CHAMBERS presented  the  report that  he  and his  colleague                                                               
published,  earlier this  year, titled  "Root Causes  of Tailings                                                               
Dam Overtopping:   The Economics  of Risk &  Consequence, Lindsay                                                               
Newland  Bowker  &  David  M. Chambers,"  to  present  the  major                                                               
conclusions.  First,  the number of catastrophic  TSF failures is                                                               
increasing at a constant rate,  because more large TSFs are being                                                               
built  and operated  by companies  under  financial stress,  with                                                               
economic  drivers dictating  production/expense level  decisions.                                                               
The   increased   failing   rate  parallels   the   increase   in                                                               
developments  designed  to extract  from  low  grade ore  bodies,                                                               
requiring more  and bigger tailings  impoundments.   The research                                                               
found  that, worldwide  as of  2010, the  failures have  cost the                                                               
public about $600 million per year.   It is important to note, he                                                               
said, that  there is  no required  funding mechanism,  other than                                                               
owner responsibility, in place to  cover the cost of catastrophic                                                               
failures; government requirements  are non-existent, although the                                                               
U.S. imposes  restrictions on the  operation of  supertankers and                                                               
pipelines.     Thus,  a  precedent   for  requirement   has  been                                                               
established, but has yet to be applied to mining operations.                                                                    
11:01:37 AM                                                                                                                   
DR.  CHAMBERS turned  to the  handout page  titled, "The  Cost of                                                               
Catastrophic Tailings  Dam Failures,"  which contains  updates to                                                               
include the  failure at Mount  Polley, as  well as to  update the                                                               
dollars  values  to  2014  levels; values  that  equate  to  2016                                                               
levels.   He pointed out  the $543 million associated  with Mount                                                               
Polley, and  stated that, thus  far, there is no  indication that                                                               
businesses  or  First  Nations  have  been  compensated  for  the                                                               
impacts they have  experienced from the disaster.   To illustrate                                                               
the  concerns held  for Alaska,  regarding  the British  Columbia                                                               
(B.C.) developments, he provided  a map titled, "Southeast Alaska                                                               
Transboundary  Watersheds  with Large-Scale  Mining  Activities,"                                                               
keyed to  indicate projects that are  either proposed, undergoing                                                               
environmental   review,    under   development,    or   currently                                                               
operational.   The  New Polaris  Tulsequah Chief,  Big Bull,  and                                                               
Brucejack  are  traditional,  underground mines  that  have  been                                                               
operating in  the watersheds and are  extracting relatively high-                                                               
grade ore.  He described the other  mines shown on the map as low                                                               
grade copper mines, which require  processing of large volumes of                                                               
ore  bodies.     Further,  he  pointed  out   that  copper  mines                                                               
inherently have  acid drainage  problems.   Thus, these  types of                                                               
mines propose novel risks for  the transboundary river areas and,                                                               
given  the historic  performance of  copper mines  and the  sheer                                                               
size  of  the  operations,  it's extremely  critical  to  require                                                               
stringent  management  practices.   He  directed  attention to  a                                                               
picture of the  Red Chris TSF, taken this  year, illustrating the                                                               
scope of  the facility  and the  dam area, to  state that  it was                                                               
designed by  the same engineers of  the Mount Polley dam.   It is                                                               
designed to remain wet, with  water on it, in perpetuity, because                                                               
it's  retaining acid  generating material.   The  wet closure  is                                                               
used to minimize the probability  of acid drainage.  However, the                                                               
Mount  Polley expert  review  panel clearly  stated  that no  wet                                                               
closures  should  be  employed   and  alternatively  advised  the                                                               
practice of perpetual treatment.   If the Red Chris dam breaches,                                                               
the water  will flush all  of the  retained liquids out,  just as                                                               
happened at Mount Polley.  A  dry facility breach would result in                                                               
a  landslide,  offering  the   possibility  for  recapturing  the                                                               
contents.  Finishing, he stressed  the need to have compensations                                                               
in  place to  cover a  catastrophic accident,  as well  as taking                                                               
every  advance measure  to avoid  a failure.   There  is no  real                                                               
compensation  for  the damage  that  will  occur, but  by  having                                                               
financial  mitigation  levels  in  place, the  companies  may  be                                                               
motivated to  follow appropriate  engineering practices.   Alaska                                                               
should also  be requesting  that B.C.  follow best  practices for                                                               
these developments,  which are still  lacking despite  the recent                                                               
revisions of  the B.C.  codes, as demonstrated  by the  Red Chris                                                               
11:08:32 AM                                                                                                                   
CHAIR  STUTES  said the  prospect  of  what  can happen  is  very                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE MUNOZ  asked how the  impacts of the  Mount Polley                                                               
breach are being managed by the Canadian government.                                                                            
DR. CHAMBERS responded that the  clean-up has attempted to remove                                                               
a portion  of the  tailings.   However, the  damage to  the local                                                               
environment  is extensive  and, to  his understanding,  untreated                                                               
water is being discharged into the watershed.                                                                                   
11:10:03 AM                                                                                                                   
CHAIR STUTES  clarified that  the $543  million, reported  as the                                                               
clean-up costs at Mount Polley,  does not take into consideration                                                               
the  economic factors  of the  area, and  asked for  an inclusive                                                               
DR.  CHAMBERS responded  that an  inclusive estimate  would range                                                               
into the billions.                                                                                                              
11:11:32 AM                                                                                                                   
REPRESENTATIVE ORTIZ  noted that,  under review, the  wet storage                                                               
design has been advised against, and  yet the Red Chris and other                                                               
proposed   developments  are   utilizing   that  design   without                                                               
correction/intervention.   He asked for  clarity whether  the wet                                                               
storage  engineering results  in a  much higher  rate of  failure                                                               
than others.                                                                                                                    
DR.  CHAMBERS responded  that  the  rate of  failure  may not  be                                                               
entirely due  to the wet storage,  as much as the  lack of safety                                                               
factors engineered into the design,  which he stressed, should be                                                               
mandated and insurable.                                                                                                         
11:14:30 AM                                                                                                                   
CHIP  TREINEN,  Vice  President, Southeast  Herring  Conservation                                                               
Alliance,  United  Fishermen  of  Alaska  (UFA),  Fish  Farm  and                                                               
Environmental Committee,  paraphrased from a  prepared statement,                                                               
which read as follows [original punctuation provided]:                                                                          
     Currently  I  reside  in  Anchorage,  but  I  began  my                                                                    
     fishing career  as a  deck hand on  a crab  boat nearly                                                                    
     forty years ago out  of Representative Stutes home town                                                                    
     of Kodiak.   Since that time, I've fished  a variety of                                                                    
     species,   gear  types   and  areas   in  Alaska   from                                                                    
     [Southeast  (SE)] to  Bristol  Bay.   I presently  hold                                                                    
     salmon seine permits  in Kodiak and SE,  a salmon drift                                                                    
     permit  for Bristol  Bay and  herring seine  permits in                                                                    
     multiple areas.                                                                                                            
     For  those   of  you  who   are  unfamiliar   with  the                                                                    
     organization, UFA  is an  umbrella group  that consists                                                                    
     of  37  fishing  organizations as  well  as  individual                                                                    
     members who  fish in  state and  federal waters  off of                                                                    
     Alaska's  coasts.   Members participate  in nearly  all                                                                    
     types of  fisheries and operate  in vessels  that range                                                                    
     from  skiffs to  factory trawlers.   I've  been on  the                                                                    
     Board of Directors of United  Fishermen of Alaska (UFA)                                                                    
     since  the early  nineties  and  presently chair  UFA's                                                                    
     Fish   Farm    and   Environmental    Committee   whose                                                                    
     responsibilities include  water quality issues  such as                                                                    
     those  related  to  mining development,  operation  and                                                                    
     regulation.   Eleven of  UFA's member  groups represent                                                                    
     salmon fisheries  in Southeast  Alaska that  are partly                                                                    
     dependent on  salmon habitat in  the rivers  of British                                                                    
     Columbia.   Many of the  other groups at the  UFA table                                                                    
     also rely  on SE salmon  fisheries and have a  stake in                                                                    
     maintaining    healthy    habitat   for    salmon    in                                                                    
     transboundary watersheds.  For  example, crab boats and                                                                    
     crews  that  tender Bristol  Bay  salmon  in the  early                                                                    
     summer   end  up   in  SE   for   the  peak   harvests.                                                                    
     Consequently, UFA  has been long engaged  in the effort                                                                    
     to minimize  risk to  salmon stocks  from transboundary                                                                    
     watershed   mining  development.     UFA   letters  are                                                                    
     included in  the packet and  can be referenced  to note                                                                    
     our position and  request to elevate the  issues to the                                                                    
     Boundary  Waters  Treaty  and  to  engage  with  Canada                                                                    
     through the International Joint Commission (IJC).                                                                          
     First of  all, thanks  go out to  Representative Stutes                                                                    
     and the rest of the  committee for holding this hearing                                                                    
     and  allowing  the  public to  express  their  concerns                                                                    
     about proposed  mining developments across  the border.                                                                    
     It   is   gratifying   to    note   that   the   Walker                                                                    
     administration has  prioritized the issue and  that Lt.                                                                    
     Gov.  Mallott has  engaged  with  officials in  British                                                                    
     Columbia to  address the risks  to Alaska.  And,  it is                                                                    
     especially gratifying  to see  that that  [U.S. Senator                                                                    
     Lisa]  Murkowski  has  been  incredibly  responsive  to                                                                    
     UFA's concerns on  these Transboundary watershed mining                                                                    
     issues  and has  gone directly  to [U.S.]  Secretary of                                                                    
     State  [John] Kerry  several times  now and  that [U.S.                                                                    
     Senator  Dan] Sullivan  and  [U.S. Representative  Don]                                                                    
     Young have also  signed on to a letter  to Secretary of                                                                    
     State Kerry  urging him  to take  action on  this issue                                                                    
     through the IJC.                                                                                                           
     On a  personal note, I was  living in Kodiak and  had a                                                                    
     salmon seine  operation in 1989  when the  Exxon Valdez                                                                    
     ran  aground  in Prince  William  Sound.   During  that                                                                    
     summer,  the  Kodiak   salmon  fishery  was  cancelled.                                                                    
     While  some vessels  worked on  oil cleanup  and others                                                                    
     fished in  un-oiled areas,  there was  a great  deal of                                                                    
     social and economic disruption that  has taken years to                                                                    
     overcome.   The  market impact  reached through  all of                                                                    
     Alaska's salmon  fisheries. Our  salmon were  viewed by                                                                    
     consumers as  oil-tainted just when many  farmed salmon                                                                    
     operations were  coming online  to fill  the void.   It                                                                    
     took  years and  sustained  marketing  efforts by  [the                                                                    
     Alaska Seafood  Marketing Institute (ASMI)]  and others                                                                    
     to  overcome  the  setback and  fallout  from  the  oil                                                                    
     spill.    Then,  when  the legal  dust  cleared  nearly                                                                    
     twenty years later,  the jury verdict was  reduced to a                                                                    
     tenth  of  the  original amount--the  immediate  lesson                                                                    
     being  that the  legal  system can't  be  relied on  to                                                                    
     protect fishermen or mitigate  damages.  The underlying                                                                    
     moral of the  story is that an "ounce  of prevention is                                                                    
     worth a  pound of cure".   The utmost care needs  to be                                                                    
     applied  when  developing  these  transboundary  mining                                                                    
     projects  in  order  to  minimize  downstream--Alaska--                                                                    
     Thank  you  again,  Chairperson Stutes  and  the  House                                                                    
     Fisheries  Committee,  for  holding  this  hearing  and                                                                    
     providing  the opportunity  to testify.    I hope  this                                                                    
     testimony  and  that  of  others  will  encourage  this                                                                    
     committee,  the   rest  of  the  legislature   and  the                                                                    
     administration to  support elevation  of this  issue to                                                                    
     the State Department so that  binding agreements can be                                                                    
     made through  the Boundary Waters  Treaty and  the IJC.                                                                    
     I  believe that  this is  the best  way to  promote due                                                                    
     diligence  on the  part of  mine developers,  operators                                                                    
     and regulators  to assure  the safest  mine development                                                                    
     and  operation possible.   UFA  will continue  to press                                                                    
     for  action that  will  protect fishermen,  communities                                                                    
     and  the state  from both  catastrophic and  cumulative                                                                    
     effects of transboundary watershed development.                                                                            
11:22:20 AM                                                                                                                   
DANIEL  SCHINDLER,  PhD,  Professor,   School  of  Fisheries  and                                                               
Aquatic Sciences, University of  Washington, outlined his work on                                                               
the science of Alaska's watersheds,  utilizing data that has been                                                               
collected since  1946.   The goal  is to  understand how  to best                                                               
assess  and quantify  the workings,  characteristics, and  points                                                               
for  protection of  salmon producing  waters.   The transboundary                                                               
watersheds  represent a  vast  and  interconnected ecosystem  for                                                               
Southeast  Alaska, ranging  from the  open Pacific  Ocean to  the                                                               
estuaries,  rivers  and  headlands.   These  waters  connect  the                                                               
habitat as  they flow from the  mountains to the ocean,  the fish                                                               
connect the habitat as they  return upstream, and people make the                                                               
connection moving in both directions.   The economic value of the                                                               
Southeast Alaska  fisheries is  estimated at  over a  billion per                                                               
year.   Although the  entire fishery  is not at  risk due  to the                                                               
transboundary mining, it's important  to note that the investment                                                               
required to realize the current  economic return is less than one                                                               
percent;  a   huge  profit   margin.     Thus,  the   stakes  are                                                               
economically high, as  well as high with regard  to the intrinsic                                                               
total worth of the ecosystems.   He provided slides, available in                                                               
the  committee  packet, of  three  samples  from Bristol  Bay  to                                                               
illustrate the  important characteristics  of the  sockeye salmon                                                               
returns  and habitat  relationships,  which are  at  the fore  in                                                               
assessing  risks  to  fisheries.     Considerations  include  the                                                               
hierarchy of the fish habitat,  where the fish dwell during their                                                               
life span, and how their need  to return to the specific, various                                                               
tributaries where they were spawned.   It is important to include                                                               
considerations  of the  habitat, not  only on  a large  and small                                                               
scale for each of  the rivers, but on a very  fine scale as well,                                                               
to encompass  the long term impacts  on the health of  fish.  The                                                               
first  slide  provided a  graph  of  the  salmon returns  to  the                                                               
Bristol Bay watersheds  for the last 50 years.   Per year returns                                                               
are not necessary comparable, he  explained because a poor run in                                                               
one  system  is  compensated  for by  increased  runs  in  other,                                                               
related systems.  That is, he  stressed, the returns wax and wane                                                               
independently  but  the  value  of  each  system  should  not  be                                                               
diminished due  to the  variance of  a given  years contribution.                                                               
The  overall  performance  of  each   river  is  what  creates  a                                                               
sustainable fishery.  The Nushagak  is one of the poorest studied                                                               
watersheds, and  yet supports one  of the biggest  Chinook salmon                                                               
returns in the world.   One of the outstanding questions revolves                                                               
around being  able to determine  what tributaries or  portions of                                                               
the  Nushagak  system produce  salmon.    The salmon  are  caught                                                               
primarily  in  the  same  estuary  where  they  all  begin  their                                                               
upstream  journey, but  mapping  their final  spawning point  has                                                               
presented  a  difficulty.   The  answer  has  been found  in  the                                                               
otoliths.   By removing this  ear bone and  using a laser  to map                                                               
its chemistry  make-up and  matching it to  the chemistry  of the                                                               
water  where the  fish  was  spawned.   The  scientists can  then                                                               
create  a  map   of  the  watershed  to   illustrate  the  salmon                                                               
incubation areas,  he said,  and directed  attention to  the map,                                                               
provided  in the  packet, titled,  "Chinook Salmon  Production in                                                               
the Nushagak  River."   He pointed  out the  highlighted spawning                                                               
areas of the salmon  spanning a number of years.   The river is a                                                               
mosaic of  ever shifting habitat for  these salmon.  In  order to                                                               
protect  the  abundant  fisheries the  entire  watershed  network                                                               
requires  protection,  he  stressed.   As  a  final  example,  he                                                               
directed attention to  a tiny stream supporting  coho and sockeye                                                               
salmon.   The coho remain in  the stream for two  years, prior to                                                               
exiting for  their maturing  years in  the ocean.   While  in the                                                               
stream,  their  primary  diet is  dependent  on  availability  of                                                               
sockeye  salmon  eggs.   He  provided  an  image of  Bear  Creek,                                                               
labeled "2008:  PIT tag  antenna arrays," to discuss the movement                                                               
of  coho smolt  between  the warm  and cold  water  areas of  the                                                               
stream to  feed and facilitate  digestion.  The  movement covered                                                               
miles  each day  and illustrates  the importance  of the  habitat                                                               
variations  required   for  healthy  development  of   the  fish.                                                               
Applying  this consideration  to the  transboundary rivers  it is                                                               
necessary to  keep in mind  the variance in  temperature required                                                               
for the  watershed to be productive.   The image of  Mount Polley                                                               
provides an  indelible image of  the catastrophic effects  that a                                                               
mine can  create.  However, it's  also important to keep  in mind                                                               
the  death of  the habitat  and watershed  by one  thousand cuts.                                                               
The infrastructure necessary  to support a large  scale, open pit                                                               
mine, prevents a  river from being able to  express the variances                                                               
and  options in  the habitat  necessary to  support healthy  fish                                                               
stocks.    He  projected  a  picture of  the  Chena  River,  near                                                               
Fairbanks, Alaska, [available in the  packet] to point out how an                                                               
unimpeded  river  carves  serpentines throughout  the  landscape,                                                               
thus creating  habitat with the  necessary variances  for rearing                                                               
salmon.    The illustration  shows  a  highway built  across  the                                                               
serpentines area, altering the ability  for the river to continue                                                               
to migrate across the landscape,  as well as impeding the ability                                                               
for fish to  access critical rearing areas.  He  pointed out that                                                               
bridges  or  culverts may  have  been  provided, but  the  salmon                                                               
population will be effected.   It's necessary to consider what is                                                               
at  stake,  he  underscored,  and  to ask  what  are  the  risks,                                                               
including the cumulative effects  of the necessary infrastructure                                                               
to support the mines, and pointed  out that tailings dams will be                                                               
present  forever.   The Boundary  Waters Treaty  (Act, previously                                                               
cited)  was  created  as  a   mechanism  for  fair  and  credible                                                               
assessment.   British  Columbia  has a  conflict  of interest  in                                                               
participating in a risk assessment  of these projects, he opined,                                                               
and the  treaty [via the  International Joint  Commission] should                                                               
be invoked to avoid that conflict.                                                                                              
11:35:29 AM                                                                                                                   
BEV SELLARS,  Chief, Xat'sull First Nation,  Chair, First Nations                                                               
Women Advocating  Responsible Mining (FNWARM), said,  as Chief of                                                               
her community when  Mount Polley breached, she  found the British                                                               
Columbia  government to  be very  difficult to  deal with  in the                                                               
aftermath, and  especially difficult  regarding topics  of mining                                                               
concerns.   Premier Christy Clark, despite  major objections from                                                               
indigenous peoples and  the general public, has pushed  to open a                                                               
number of new  mines and expand others.  The  B.C. government has                                                               
documented nearly 2,000 abandoned  mines, many leaching chemicals                                                               
into   the  environment,   and   yet  they   still  support   new                                                               
developments.  She called for  B.C. to clean-up what exists prior                                                               
to allowing  any new  developments or  expansions.   She reported                                                               
having challenged  mining executives  to consider  mining garbage                                                               
dumps, prior  to furthering development  of pristine  areas, and,                                                               
to her  surprise, they agreed.   The Fraser River is  home to her                                                               
community but has been on the  endangered list for many years due                                                               
to the pulp  mines and mineral mines being allowed  to dump their                                                               
waste into the  river.  Historically, the river  was magical when                                                               
the fishing  season returned  and the  fish-camps were  a social,                                                               
cultural  hub,  she recalled.    However,  30 years  ago  changes                                                               
settled  in  and the  salmon  runs  waned.   When  the  community                                                               
leaders reported  the decline  to the  B.C. government  they were                                                               
informed it  was a normal  occurrence.  As  traditional fisherman                                                               
of the  area, however, the  elders knew  it wasn't natural.   She                                                               
said  she has  refrained from  eating  Fraser River  fish for  15                                                               
years, and  any she has seen  are infested with worms  and aren't                                                               
edible.   The  loss of  the rivers  fishing tradition  is also  a                                                               
cultural  loss for  generations to  come.   Knowing that  B.C. is                                                               
allowing  the development  of transboundary  river mines,  causes                                                               
her  to  have concern  for  Southeast  Alaska.   The  traditional                                                               
territory of her  People is covered by mining  claims, both large                                                               
and  small  scale.   Many  salmon  runs are  already  nonexistent                                                               
having been  completely wiped  out.   Following the  Mount Polley                                                               
disaster she said:                                                                                                              
     We had to chase down  the government and mining company                                                                    
     to demand  what was going  on.   And it was  a struggle                                                                    
     and a  hard fought  battle ... to  get a  memorandum of                                                                    
     understanding  (MOU) with  the B.C.  government.   Even                                                                    
     with that  [MOU], ... we  still had to chase  them down                                                                    
     for information.   And  then they wanted  us to  sign a                                                                    
     confidentiality agreement  about Mount Polley.   Before                                                                    
     we signed the MOU they said,  "Well, you have to sign a                                                                    
     confidentiality agreement."   And we said,  "No ... the                                                                    
     public has  a right  to know what's  going on  at Mount                                                                    
     Polley."   ...   Our  communities ...  had to  fight to                                                                    
     even  get  water for  the  community  of Likely.    ...                                                                    
     Originally water  was supplied,  after the  breach, ...                                                                    
     for only  about a week,  and then they  said everything                                                                    
     was fine,  "Oh, the water  is good, it's OK  to drink."                                                                    
     And yet it was a God awful  color.  ...  Over the major                                                                    
     objections  of both  indigenous communities,  the Mount                                                                    
     Polley mine has now fully reopened.                                                                                        
CHIEF SELLARS  reported that  the MOU the  tribe signed  with the                                                               
province has  proven to be  meaningless.  She  recommended, based                                                               
on  her lifelong  experience dealing  with  the B.C.  government,                                                               
that  Alaska  obtain  a  solidly   written,  country  to  country                                                               
agreement, and  strongly cautioned  against putting trust  in the                                                               
provincial   government  of   B.C.     The  International   Joint                                                               
Commission  (IJC),   would  be   the  best  route,   she  opined.                                                               
Politicians need  to think in  terms of seven  generations ahead,                                                               
she  suggested.   The First  Nations are  continually accused  of                                                               
slowing the  economy or  preventing development  of jobs,  but as                                                               
Natives  we're fighting  for everyone's  grandchildren, including                                                               
those  of  the people  who  are  mining  at  the expense  of  the                                                               
environment.   There  are two  economies that  are clashing,  she                                                               
pointed out and said:                                                                                                           
     One  grows and  walks on  the  land, and  swims in  the                                                                    
     waters.    This  is  the  economy  that  has  sustained                                                                    
     generations in  this land, and hopefully  will continue                                                                    
     to sustain  all of  our grandchildren.   And  the other                                                                    
     economy;  where the  profit is  the bottom  line.   ...                                                                    
     That's  a  dangerous economy  when  there  are no  safe                                                                    
     guards in place.                                                                                                           
CHIEF SELLARS reported having attended  a meeting, in Lima, Peru,                                                               
with  representatives   of  indigenous  people  from   ten  South                                                               
American countries.   A  tribal chief of  an indigenous  tribe in                                                               
Equator  shared how  his community  had  been offered  a "ton  of                                                               
money"  to allow  a mine  to be  put a  mine in  and he  told the                                                               
mining  company, "You  eat your  money  soup, and  we'll eat  our                                                               
banana soup, and we'll see who survives."                                                                                       
11:44:28 AM                                                                                                                   
JACINDA  MACK,  Council  Coordinator, Secwepemc  Nation,  Member,                                                               
First  Nations  Women  Advocating  Responsible  Mining  (FNWARM),                                                               
opened with  a quote  from Lila Watson,  an aboriginal  Native of                                                               
Australia, who said:                                                                                                            
     If you have come here to  help me, you are wasting your                                                                    
     time.  But if you  have come because your liberation is                                                                    
     bound up with mine, then let us work together.                                                                             
MS.  MACK said  that's  why  we're here,  because  our long  term                                                               
health and  environment and way  of life is dependent  on healthy                                                               
clean  watersheds, healthy  land, and  healthy air.   The  way of                                                               
life,  and  dependence on  the  land  is  a primary  concern  and                                                               
commonality  of   the  Southeast  and  British   Columbia  (B.C.)                                                               
indigenous  tribes and  the public.    The area  impacted by  the                                                               
Mount Polley  breach is the  birthing waters of the  areas salmon                                                               
and one of  the largest nurseries for the watershed.   Within the                                                               
watershed, the Fraser River comprises  many tributaries and other                                                               
systems.   To say  that "we're all  downstream" couldn't  be more                                                               
applicable,  she  stressed,  and  praised the  efforts  shown  by                                                               
Southeast  Alaskans to  protect the  transboundary rivers,  which                                                               
has  provided  a  motivational  interest  among  the  tribes  and                                                               
residents of B.C.   The rapid declines in the  fisheries near her                                                               
community  are evident,  and she  reported  having witnessed  the                                                               
fishery,  once  alive  with thousands  of  salmon,  decimated  to                                                               
virtually nothing.  In her  lifetime she has witnessed the demise                                                               
of  this  once  huge,  healthy,   viable,  salmon,  river.    She                                                               
translated her tribes name as People  of the Water, and said that                                                               
traditionally the  root of every  girls name was the  Native word                                                               
for water to  represent how women, like the water,  are givers of                                                               
life.   That  connection  with  the water  is  integral to  their                                                               
Native  culture identity  and responsibility  to the  land.   She                                                               
echoed Chief  Sellars' call to  protect the watershed  for future                                                               
generations.   She underscored  the effects  of the  aftermath of                                                               
the  Mount  Polley breach,  stating  that  the losses  are  being                                                               
absorbed  by the  communities  with  enormous socio-economic  and                                                               
cultural impacts.   Further, altercations have arisen  due to the                                                               
need for  some Peoples  to relocate, no  longer to  inhabit their                                                               
historic, tribal locales due to the compromised environment.                                                                    
MS.  MACK  expressed  dissent   regarding  the  inevitability  of                                                               
mining, and that there is nothing  that can be done.  Contrary to                                                               
this commonly held idea, she said  there is much that can be done                                                               
to prevent  a catastrophic disaster,  such as Mount Polley.   The                                                               
connection   that  the   transboundary   rivers  create   between                                                               
Southeast  Alaska  and  B.C. provides  an  opportunity  to  unite                                                               
around  the  responsibility for  using  every  available tool  to                                                               
protect  the environment.    The  International Joint  Commission                                                               
(IJC) is needed, she said,  and agreed with the auditor general's                                                               
written report calling  for the provincial leadership  of B.C. to                                                               
be  removed  from   its  position  of  conflict   as  the  mining                                                               
industries self-appointed, self-monitoring  agency.  The province                                                               
lacks laws  requiring a disaster  plan and  financial assurances.                                                               
Thus,  the  disaster at  Mount  Polley  established a  precedent,                                                               
which  is  to  implement  an adaptive  management  and  assume  a                                                               
"figure it out as we go" approach.   Such an approach is not good                                                               
enough, she stressed, and called  for legally binding measures to                                                               
hold B.C. and  the mining companies accountable.   Canadian mines                                                               
around the  world have been  committing environmental  crimes for                                                               
many years,  she proclaimed.   Further, she pointed out  that the                                                               
indigenous  tribes of  B.C. inhabit  an  unenviable locale  where                                                               
they've  had to  deal with  mining since  the 1860's.     British                                                               
Columbia is essentially the mining  capital of the world, and her                                                               
community lives  in the heart  of that area, thus,  the residents                                                               
will  be  continuing   to  deal  with  the  issues   of  what  is                                                               
essentially an  on-going gold  rush.   Mount Polley  continues to                                                               
operate,  using  the same  tailing  facility  that failed,  while                                                               
reparations  have yet  to be  made to  the effected  communities.                                                               
She finished, stressing that these  actions indicate the need for                                                               
international intervention.                                                                                                     
11:51:36 AM                                                                                                                   
CHAIR  STUTES commented  that  the  issue warrants  conversation,                                                               
then announced a lunch recess until 12:45.                                                                                      
11:52:21 AM                                                                                                                   
The committee took a recess from 11:52 a.m. to 12:50 p.m.                                                                       
12:50:28 PM                                                                                                                   
CHAIR  LOUISE  STUTES  called  the  House  Special  Committee  on                                                               
Fisheries meeting  back to order  at 12:50 p.m.   Representatives                                                               
Stutes  (via  teleconference),  Ortiz,  and  Kreiss-Tomkins  (via                                                               
teleconference) were present at the  call to order.  Also present                                                               
were Representative Kito and Senator Egan.                                                                                      
12:51:49 PM                                                                                                                   
HEATHER  HARDCASTLE, Director,  Salmon Beyond  Borders, Co-Owner,                                                               
Taku  River  Reds,  said,  foremost   to  any  other  tasks,  her                                                               
personal, primary  responsibility is to protect  the salmon runs,                                                               
thus, sustain  her home and  ensuring fish and  opportunities for                                                               
the  generations  to   come.    Salmon  Beyond   Borders  is  not                                                               
attempting to  stop development, stop mining,  or be disingenuous                                                               
toward another  country, she  assured, it's  simply an  effort to                                                               
make  sure that  these rivers  remain sustainable  long into  the                                                               
future.   As  the downstream  recipients of  any outfall,  Alaska                                                               
doesn't stand to benefit from  the developments and, thus, has no                                                               
seat at  the table  to discuss the  proposed projects  and ensure                                                               
that best  operation practices are  being followed.  She  said it                                                               
is tiresome and  demoralizing that, after three  years of effort,                                                               
little progress has been made  to have these discussions, and yet                                                               
the  British Columbia  (B.C.) mining  projects are  continuing to                                                               
move  along  at  an  accelerated  pace.    The  discussion  today                                                               
provides  a ray  of hope  and carries  the message  that Alaskans                                                               
must keep speaking out with one  voice.  It is not hyperbolic, or                                                               
extreme, to  ask that the U.S.  government go to bat  for Alaska.                                                               
The  Canadian  government also  needs  to  be engaged  to  create                                                               
enforceable binding  protections that extend to  B.C. and Alaska.                                                               
These are  world class, globally significant  watersheds, as well                                                               
as our home.  The state  of cooperation (SOC) signed last week is                                                               
one step in the process, but it  is not the "end all be all," and                                                               
such an impression  should be suppressed.  The SOC  was signed by                                                               
Lieutenant  Governor   Byron  Mallott  and  the   Honorable  Bill                                                               
Bennett, Minister  of Energy and  Mines and Responsible  for Core                                                               
Review.  She  paraphrased a recent quote from  Mr. Bennett, which                                                               
read as follows:                                                                                                                
     We've proven  [by] this agreement,  and all  [the] work                                                                    
     we've done over  the last three years,  that there's no                                                                    
     need for  the International Joint Commission.   Neither                                                                    
         B.C. nor Alaska want, [nor] need, to get their                                                                         
     respective federal governments involved in a situation                                                                     
     they can manage themselves.                                                                                                
MS. HARDCASTLE  reported having met  with Mr. Bennet  many times,                                                               
and  respectfully  offered  that   his  statement  is  "flat  out                                                               
inaccurate."  Alaska is not at  all giving the impression, or has                                                               
the intent, for the SOC to  be indicative that the issue is being                                                               
handled  by   the  state  and   B.C.    The  management   of  the                                                               
transboundary rivers are an international  issue and the only way                                                               
to  handle  the  situation  jointly is  via  binding  enforceable                                                               
protections   that   will   be   formed   through   international                                                               
agreements.   The International  Joint Commission  (IJC) referral                                                               
is  the  next  best  step,  an action  that  Alaskans  have  been                                                               
requested  over the  last three  years, as  well as  testified to                                                               
here today.   She urged  the committee  to impose their  power to                                                               
listen to Alaskans and influence the administration to that end.                                                                
12:58:46 PM                                                                                                                   
JILL  WEITZ, Campaign  Manager, Salmon  Beyond Borders,  reported                                                               
that  transboundary  river  concerns   have  gained  support  and                                                               
unified  Southeast residents  ranging from  fishermen and  tribal                                                               
leaders  to business  owners and  tour  operators throughout  the                                                               
region.    Over   12  municipalities  and  15   of  19  federally                                                               
recognized Native  tribes have joined the  effort.  Additionally,                                                               
Salmon  Beyond  Borders  has received  over  7,000  letters  from                                                               
Alaskan residents and public  entities requesting the involvement                                                               
of Alaska's Congressional Delegation  and the federal government,                                                               
in order  to address the  issue on  an international level.   She                                                               
expressed  appreciation for  the recent  accomplishments made  by                                                               
the Walker  administration and  the signing  of the  statement of                                                               
cooperation (SOC);  however, apprehensions exist due  to the poor                                                               
track record  held by British  Columbia (B.C.)  [regarding mining                                                               
oversight], which is well documented  and easily researched.  The                                                               
transboundary  river  issue  is   an  international  problem  and                                                               
requires  international solutions,  she stressed,  and maintained                                                               
that  the  stakes are  too  high  for  Alaska  to remain  on  the                                                               
periphery and depend primarily on the SOC for protections.                                                                      
1:02:08 PM                                                                                                                    
GUY  ARCHIBALD, Coordinator,  Mining and  Clean Water,  Southeast                                                               
Alaska  Conservation  Council   (SEACC),  offered  a  comparative                                                               
perspective on the Kerr-Sulphurets-Mitchell  mine proposed on the                                                               
Unuk River  and the  local Green's Creek  mine operating  in Hawk                                                               
Inlet.   The recent update  on the  Kerr-Sulphurets-Mitchell mine                                                               
proposal describes an operating level  with an extraction rate of                                                               
400,000 tons  of ore per day  from several open pit  mines on the                                                               
same project.  The Greens Creek  mine averages about 2,400 tons a                                                               
day.  Prior  to the expansion proposal, the  Unuk River operation                                                               
called for the treatment and  release of 119,000 gallons of waste                                                               
water per  minute into the  river.  The  waste water will  be, in                                                               
some constituents, over 100 times  the aquatic life criteria.  It                                                               
basically calls for  turning that section of the  Unuk River into                                                               
a large  mixing zone.   As the reports of  catastrophic disasters                                                               
to  date indicate,  these mines  represent a  significant threat.                                                               
He reiterated the  statement made by Dr. Shindler  that the death                                                               
of  a watershed  is caused  by one  thousand cuts.   Systems  are                                                               
fairly  resilient  to  an occasional  large,  disruptive  impact,                                                               
which  is  how the  salmon  runs  have  remained at  high  levels                                                               
despite  natural  seismic  and  volcanic  activities  around  the                                                               
Pacific Rim.   Nature's response  to a phenomenal disaster  is to                                                               
rebound  at  a  stronger  level   in  preparation  for  the  next                                                               
occurrence.   This is similar to  the human body.   When a person                                                               
breaks a bone  or tears a muscle, the healing  response creates a                                                               
stronger bone  or larger muscle  mass.  The most  damaging action                                                               
to  a  watershed  is  a constant,  insidious,  low  level  stress                                                               
causing continuous erosive effects.   Again, it is not unlike the                                                               
human body  under continual  stress.   The nervous  and digestive                                                               
systems  will  eventually  display  the  degradation.    He  said                                                               
scientists cannot  explain why certain  regional salmon  runs are                                                               
currently declining  or are  in absentia.   It's  a good  bet, he                                                               
opined, that the  reason is not one identifier  but a combination                                                               
of many  things.   Adding the  stresses of  these mines  to these                                                               
watersheds could  be the straw  that breaks the camel's  back, he                                                               
cautioned,  and  requested  that  the legislature  pass  a  joint                                                               
resolution  to   specifically  request  an   International  Joint                                                               
Commission  (IJC) referral  be  made by  the  U.S. Department  of                                                               
State.  The Congressional Delegation  has been clear in this ask,                                                               
but the Executive  Branch has been less so, and  suggested that a                                                               
clear message  from the legislative  body is in order.   Finally,                                                               
he  said there  are  273 transboundary  waterways throughout  the                                                               
world and up  to 40 percent of the world's  population lives in a                                                               
transboundary  basin.     Dozens   of  treaties,   compacts,  and                                                               
agreements exist  between nations, including  indigenous nations.                                                               
Thus, learning models exist and  opportunities are available, for                                                               
Alaska  to  draw  upon  and  establish  enforceable  governmental                                                               
1:06:49 PM                                                                                                                    
JACKIE PERRY  described the semi-subsistence life  style that she                                                               
enjoys  in  Myer's  Chuck,  accessible   via  boat  when  weather                                                               
permits, about  one hour from  Thorne Bay and the  nearest store.                                                               
The healthy waters provide the  seafood which is the main dietary                                                               
staple  of the  area.   She expressed  concern for  the continued                                                               
health of the watersheds to  allow her son and future generations                                                               
to live a  similar life style, and urged the  legislature to take                                                               
steps to engage  the U.S. government in an effort  to do all that                                                               
is possible to protect the waters.                                                                                              
1:08:46 PM                                                                                                                    
DORIS   CELLARIUS,  Affiliate,   International   Union  for   the                                                               
Conservation  of  Nature,  recounted that  she  recently  learned                                                               
about  the Canadian  supported, mining  operations, and  how they                                                               
pose a  pollution threat  to the waters  and salmon  of Southeast                                                               
Alaska.  She  echoed the sentiments of the  previous speakers who                                                               
have urged the  state to engage the U.S. Department  of State and                                                               
obtain a referral to the  International Joint Commission (IJC) in                                                               
order  to  obtain  enforceable protections.    The  testimony  is                                                               
shocking, she said, to hear  how the Native communities have lost                                                               
their  salmon,  the collusion  of  the  mining companies  to  not                                                               
mitigate  or clean  up sites,  and the  lack of  response by  the                                                               
Canadian government.  It is  apparent that  Alaska must  lead the                                                               
way  and  get  the  IJC involved  to  create  strong,  acceptable                                                               
standards.  As a resident of  Arizona, she said she enjoys eating                                                               
healthy Alaska salmon products and  cares about the people living                                                               
along the rivers who depend on a subsistence life style.                                                                        
1:12:13 PM                                                                                                                    
DAVID  PERRY, Commercial  Fisherman,  described the  the area  of                                                               
Meyer's Chuck where he lives.   He said he fishes the salmon runs                                                               
provided by the Unuk River to  the south and the Stikine River to                                                               
the  north, with  contributing salmon  stocks from  the Bradfield                                                               
Canal.   He  said he  depends  on Alaska's  elected officials  to                                                               
pursue and  protect these watershed  resources and work  with the                                                               
government of  British Columbia (B.C.),  via the  U.S. Department                                                               
of State, and  ensure that these huge projects  are engineered to                                                               
perfection to  avoid a  catastrophic result.   Meyer's  Chuck has                                                               
historically provided  important fish products to  the U.S. since                                                               
it  was founded  and the  future for  that activity  needs to  be                                                               
protected.  He urged the committee  to take hold of the situation                                                               
and consider its magnitude.                                                                                                     
1:14:52 PM                                                                                                                    
ERIC FORRER recalled his years  working in Alaska as a commercial                                                               
fisherman, which included  working on the Exxon  Valdez oil spill                                                               
[March 24, 1989] clean-up effort.   He considers the fish and the                                                               
rivers to be  his spiritual home and said  traditionally the King                                                               
salmon is the symbol of life,  as it connects the environment and                                                               
nutrients  of the  deep  oceans to  the trees  that  live on  the                                                               
mountains.   There is no  species of  plant or animal  which does                                                               
not benefit  from the presence of  the King and other  salmon, he                                                               
said.  The genie in the  bottle of the transboundary mines is the                                                               
chemistry and  physics of mining,  he opined.   Once the  land is                                                               
broken,  no power,  technology, or  litany of  corporate promises                                                               
will be  able to rectify  the devastation.   The question  is not                                                               
can  it be  done  responsibility  but whether  the  price of  the                                                               
inherent  loss is  worth  the economics  of the  mines.   As  the                                                               
downstream recipients  of any negative fallout,  and with British                                                               
Columbia (B.C.)  as the beneficiaries,  the loss is not  worth it                                                               
to Alaska.   An  instructive case  is that of  the Faro  open pit                                                               
mine  [Yukon Territory,  Canada].   By using  the corporate  veil                                                               
technique, the  companies ensured that  the clean-up of  the mine                                                               
rested  entirely  in  the  hands of  the  Canadian  public,  with                                                               
initial  costs  expected to  run  into  billions of  dollars  and                                                               
follow-up costs  estimated at  about three  million per  year for                                                               
500 years,  as reported  by a Yukon  news source.   Transboundary                                                               
mines often result in major  losses to big development, or result                                                               
in losses  that are  analogous with killing  the goose  that laid                                                               
the golden egg,  as can be witnessed in the  loss of salmon based                                                               
ecologies  from  Sacramento  [California],  to the  Yukon.    The                                                               
Pacific  Coast north  from Sacramento  once hosted  runs of  King                                                               
salmon that  ran in the  millions, now  reduced to a  remnant few                                                               
thousand.     Further,  the   Yukon  River   may  be   a  current                                                               
illustration  of  transboundary  river  issues,  considering  the                                                               
discovery  of  how minute  amounts  of  heavy metals  affect  the                                                               
survival  rates  of salmonids.  The  Faro's  40 year  history  of                                                               
dumping heavy metal waste into  the Yukon drainage makes the mine                                                               
a  suspect  in the  ongoing  mystery  of  the decline  of  salmon                                                               
productivity in the Yukon.  He  urged the committee to defend the                                                               
ecology and culture  of Alaska's rivers.  On a  human time scale,                                                               
mining  is  for   the  moment  and  fisheries   are  forever,  he                                                               
1:18:30 PM                                                                                                                    
CHRISTINE NIEMI  said Alaska  has been her  home since  1976, and                                                               
described her extensive family and  their dietary reliance on the                                                               
availability of  Alaska seafood.   She noted the existence  of an                                                               
abandoned mine  on the Taku  River which  has yet to  have anyone                                                               
step forward  and take on  the responsibility for  correcting the                                                               
polluting   effluent   that   is   leaching   into   the   river.                                                               
Additionally, Mount  Polley has resumed operations  despite their                                                               
unsafe  practices.   She reported  that, when  living in  Spokane                                                               
[Washington], restrictions were placed  on the consumption of the                                                               
natural inland sockeye runs.   Although it was deemed harmless if                                                               
consumed  only once  per month,  it  raises the  question of  why                                                               
anyone would want to consume it at  all.  A mine in Butte Montana                                                               
left  a   poison  lake  that   is  deadly  to   migrating  birds.                                                               
Historically, mining  corporations enter  an area, make  money on                                                               
the resource, eventually abandon the  site, and leave the expense                                                               
and effort  of cleanup to the  public.   Alaska  cannot afford to                                                               
lose its  fisheries.  She  stressed the  need to have  a binding,                                                               
enforceable  agreement  between  the   U.S.  government  and  the                                                               
Canadian  government and  urged  the legislature  to pursue  that                                                               
1:20:58 PM                                                                                                                    
LUKE BROCKMANN recounted the role  that salmon have played in all                                                               
aspects of his life growing up  in Southeast Alaska.  Even today,                                                               
as  a young  adult, everything  in  his life,  he said,  revolves                                                               
around salmon  and salmonids.   "These mines  scare me,  and they                                                               
scare me a lot," he said, and  stated his hope of one day running                                                               
a guided,  sport fishing business  on the Taku River  or possibly                                                               
commercially  fishing the  drainage.   However, if  the Tulsequah                                                               
Chief,  or  the   other  proposed  mines,  go   into  effect  and                                                               
experience  failures similar  to Mount  Polley, all  fisheries on                                                               
the river will  come to a screeching halt.   People rely on these                                                               
rivers for food  and support, he stressed, and  Canada is putting                                                               
these fishery resources at risk now and for future generations.                                                                 
He expressed that  he does not take this issue  lightly and urged                                                               
the legislature  to do  whatever is possible  to "make  sure that                                                               
our rivers do not  go the way of the Fraser.   Long live salmon,"                                                               
he finished.                                                                                                                    
1:24:17 PM                                                                                                                    
KATHRIN MCCARTHY reported having  worked on various environmental                                                               
issues in  Southeast Alaska,  since she moved  here in  1965, and                                                               
offered  her  first  impressions  of  arriving  and  viewing  the                                                               
Mendenhall  Glacier area.   Since  that time,  the glaciers  have                                                               
visibly receded, which she acquaints  with climate change issues,                                                               
and might also effect the health  of the salmon runs.  Continuing                                                               
to  allow and  accept the  need for  large scale,  open pit,  ore                                                               
mines  means there  will  continue to  be  huge tailing  disposal                                                               
sites.   Viewing  the video  of the  Mount Polley  mine disaster,                                                               
watching a sea  of toxic waste gush into Canal  Lake, and hearing                                                               
the  minister talking  about mitigation  and clean-up  procedures                                                               
was  enraging, she  said.   There  is no  means  to clean-up  and                                                               
reverse the  deadly effects of  a spill on that  magnitude, ever,                                                               
she predicted.  The Red Chris  mine is being proposed by the same                                                               
company  that  built Mount  Polley,  utilizing  the same  design.                                                               
Alaska  must  use every  resource  to  block the  permitting  and                                                               
operation of these proposed transboundary mines, she finished.                                                                  
1:30:24 PM                                                                                                                    
LARRY WEST, Naturalist, Boat Company, paraphrased from a                                                                        
prepared statement, which read as follows [original punctuation                                                                 
     Thank you for  considering Alaskans' concerns regarding                                                                    
     mines in the headwaters  of transboundary rivers, their                                                                    
     current  impacts on  downstream  marine  life, and  the                                                                    
     threats   they  present   to  subsistence   for  Alaska                                                                    
     residents and to the health of our economy.                                                                                
     Only  a  few major  rivers  that  originate across  the                                                                    
     border  in  British  Columbia flow  through  the  Coast                                                                    
     Range  into Southeast  Alaska.   They are  the largest,                                                                    
     most important freshwater systems  in our region.  Each                                                                    
     carries  all  five  species   of  salmon  and  provides                                                                    
     habitat for  the region's  greatest diversity  of flora                                                                    
     and fauna.                                                                                                                 
     Open-pit and  underground mines already operate  in the                                                                    
     headwaters  of the  largest of  these rivers,  the Taku                                                                    
     and the  Stikine, and  additional mines  are envisioned                                                                    
     or  under development  in others.   Recent  toxic waste                                                                    
     escapements  that resulted  in catastrophic  impacts to                                                                    
     similar  watersheds in  southern British  Columbia, and                                                                    
     nearly 60 years of toxins  still leaching from a closed                                                                    
     mine in  the Taku headwaters  - a mine  that developers                                                                    
     are seeking  to reopen  - call particular  attention to                                                                    
     the dire need to  create binding international law that                                                                    
     ensures  the short-  and long-term  health of  Alaska's                                                                    
     waters and riparian and marine habitats.                                                                                   
     There  are   many  examples  of   cooperative,  binding                                                                    
     international agreements  that prevent  the degradation                                                                    
     of  watersheds worldwide.    One  glaring exception  is                                                                    
     North America,  and it's time  for that to change.   It                                                                    
     must  change or  Southeast Alaska  faces a  significant                                                                    
     threat not only to residential  quality of life, but to                                                                    
     the  region's most  important  industries, fishing  and                                                                    
     tourism.    The  United  States  and  Canadian  federal                                                                    
     governments, the  State of Alaska  and the  Province of                                                                    
     British Columbia must  secure enforceable environmental                                                                    
     and   financial  protections   for  our   transboundary                                                                    
      Thank you for representing us, your constituents, in                                                                      
     this matter!                                                                                                               
1:33:45 PM                                                                                                                    
LAURA   STATS  praised   the  important   scientific  information                                                               
provided by  the invited witnesses:   [Dr.] Schindler's expertise                                                               
on what is necessary for the  growth of salmon in perpetuity; and                                                               
[Dr.] Chamber's clear  picture of the risk  that mining companies                                                               
pose  through unsafe  practices.   The  First Nation's  speakers,                                                               
[Chief] Sellars  and Ms. Mack, shared  their firsthand experience                                                               
dealing with the  mining companies and the  public's inability to                                                               
bring  forward any  litigation,  she reminded,  and stressed  the                                                               
importance  for  committee  members  to  note  these  facts.  The                                                               
Southeast  is at  a critical  point in  time to  save the  salmon                                                               
runs, she opined,  and referred to specific  points chronicled in                                                               
the  book [KING  OF FISH:   The  Thousand-Year Run  of Salmon  by                                                             
David R.  Montgomery, Westview Press, 2003],  expecting that each                                                               
member has received and read  the distributed copies.  Finishing,                                                               
she urged the  committee to contact the U.S.  Department of State                                                               
to solicit  national support, acknowledged  the work taken  up by                                                               
Lieutenant Governor Mallott, expressed  support for a referral to                                                               
the International  Joint Commission (IJC), and  stressed the need                                                               
to  advocate  strongly on  behalf  of  preserving healthy  salmon                                                               
stocks in Southeast.                                                                                                            
1:38:48 PM                                                                                                                    
MEREDITH   TRAINOR,   Executive    Director,   Southeast   Alaska                                                               
Conservation Council  (SEACC), reported on her  previous ten-year                                                               
tenure  working in  British Columbia  (B.C.)  as a  manager of  a                                                               
mineral  reform  campaign focused  on  slowing  the expansion  of                                                               
mines situated on  the Alaska-Canada border.   She emphasized the                                                               
points  testified to  by [Chief]  Bev Sellars  and Jacinda  Mack,                                                               
regarding the B.C. government's  stance and the predisposition of                                                               
Premier Christy  Clark to continue the  development and expansion                                                               
of open  pit, mega mines.   In the spring of  2013, Premier Clark                                                               
released  a  B.C.  jobs  plan  that was  focused  on  opening  or                                                               
expanding,  17 new  or existing  mines.   Construction has  since                                                               
begun on  8 of  those mines  and 7  existing mines  have received                                                               
expansion  approvals.   She expressed  appreciation for  the work                                                               
that  has  begun,  including  the   first  step  of  signing  the                                                               
statement of cooperation  (SOC) to bring attention  to the impact                                                               
of  these mines  on Southeast  Alaskan communities.   It  is also                                                               
necessary to  reinforce that  Alaska cannot  expect B.C.  to hold                                                               
our interests  in trust,  to protect our  waters, and  defend our                                                               
way of life.   Now is the time to  engage the federal government,                                                               
she  underscored,  and  said an  International  Joint  Commission                                                               
(IJC)  referral  is  the  best  means  for  ensuring  protections                                                               
against the ramifications  of the B.C. mines,  and encouraged the                                                               
committee to continue its work towards that outcome.                                                                            
1:42:26 PM                                                                                                                    
BRETT COLLINS  postulated on what  he has learned  from traveling                                                               
and  living in  various  areas of  the  world, including  British                                                               
Columbia,  to wit:   Looking  after  the environment  is not  the                                                               
responsibility  of one  country,  government,  or community,  but                                                               
must   be  undertaken   via  uniting   all  concerned   entities.                                                               
Unfortunately, not everyone has  the interests of the environment                                                               
on their  list of  priorities.  He  opined that  mining companies                                                               
worldwide put  forth a  minimum of  effort to  meet environmental                                                               
standards.   History shows how  companies typically find  it more                                                               
convenient  to  pay  forgiveness fines,  following  an  accident,                                                               
versus implementing  and practicing protective measures.   Having                                                               
worked  in  a mine  in  Australia,  he reported  two  overbearing                                                               
observations:   mine officials view the  environment as something                                                               
to be abused;  and concerns held by the indigenous  tribes are to                                                               
be ignored.   Under the assumption of  these attitudes, shortcuts                                                               
are often taken  resulting in accidents, which  he predicted will                                                               
continue to occur.  He said:                                                                                                    
     I  implore  the  committee  here to  help  protect  the                                                                    
     environment,  the rivers  of fish,  and, in  extension,                                                                    
     the  economy   ...    More  specifically,   please  put                                                                    
     pressure  on   the  Walker  administration   to  create                                                                    
     legally  binding  protections  for the  watershed,  the                                                                    
     rivers, and the salmon  of British Columbia and Alaska.                                                                    
     ...  We  need  transnational  laws  to  regulate  these                                                                    
1:44:44 PM                                                                                                                    
MELANIE  BROWN, Member,  Naknek  Tribe, identified  herself as  a                                                               
commercial  fisherman and  an advocate  for fish,  which includes                                                               
being an  active affiliate of  Salmon Beyond Borders.   With food                                                               
as a  major motivational  factor in her  life, she  described her                                                               
good fortune for being able  to harvest subsistence food from two                                                               
miraculous locations:   Bristol Bay,  and Juneau.   The available                                                               
bounty  of salmon,  and other  wild food  harvests, depends  on a                                                               
supportive environment.   The food  speaks for itself,  she said,                                                               
and represents  a true, sharable  wealth.  She  acknowledged that                                                               
some people are motivated by a  type of wealth that is not edible                                                               
nor does  it feed the  soul; a motivational nourishment  that she                                                               
finds difficult to  understand.  She urged the  committee to find                                                               
a  means  to  elevate  the transboundary  river  concern  to  the                                                               
federal  and international  level and  to continue  to strengthen                                                               
the  work   that  has  been   started  under  the   statement  of                                                               
cooperation (SOC).                                                                                                              
1:49:44 PM                                                                                                                    
MARGO  WARING,  urged  the  legislature  to  take  the  strongest                                                               
possible  steps  to  advocate action  through  the  International                                                               
Joint Commission (IJC),  and insist on either no  open pit mining                                                               
or  the application  of the  highest environmental  standards for                                                               
mining  developments; certainly  standards  beyond anything  that                                                               
British Columbia (B.C.) has ever  imposed.  There are no promises                                                               
or  guarantees  via  financial   bonding  that  could  compensate                                                               
Juneau,  Southeast,  Alaska,  America,  or  the  world,  for  the                                                               
possible devastation  that open  pit mining and  its imperilments                                                               
can create.   Southeast Alaska  is all about its  environment and                                                               
the resources that  the Tongass [National Forest]  provides.  She                                                               
finished, stating:                                                                                                              
     We're counting on you to help us protect these values.                                                                     
        We really urge that you take that responsibility                                                                        
     seriously in advocating for us.                                                                                            
1:52:12 PM                                                                                                                    
MARC WHEELER, Owner, Copa Coffee  Café, noted that his café makes                                                               
most things from scratch using  ingredients raised in Alaska.  He                                                               
said it's important  to his company to be able  to market Alaskan                                                               
products  that  use   Alaskan  salmon.    For   marketing  to  be                                                               
successful, he  stressed the importance  for the  salmon products                                                               
to be  perceived as  pure and natural.   Anything  that threatens                                                               
this   perception  represents   a  major   economic  threat,   he                                                               
1:54:06 PM                                                                                                                    
ANN FULLER  questioned the term  "enforceable protections."   She                                                               
shared an anecdote regarding a  visiting friend who, upon hearing                                                               
Ms.  Fuller's worries  for the  Tulsequah  Chief mine,  responded                                                               
that in  Pennsylvania the  worry is for  all of  their waterways.                                                               
The  concern  revolves  around   a  system  which  allows  mining                                                               
companies to  operate and poison  the rivers  of the Earth.   She                                                               
shared an example with the committee  of a mine owner in Virginia                                                               
who has  accumulated years of  unpaid fines and yet  continues to                                                               
operate, polluting  the water,  and making a  profit.   She urged                                                               
the state to be very  serious about obtaining federal support and                                                               
obtain  the  necessary  assurances that  Alaska's  interests  are                                                               
1:56:48 PM                                                                                                                    
CHRIS  MILLER,  Commercial   Fisherman,  Member,  Juneau  Douglas                                                               
Alaska Department  of Fish and Game  Regional Advisory Committee,                                                               
paraphrased  from a  prepared statement,  which  read as  follows                                                               
[original punctuation provided]:                                                                                                
     Once  upon a  time, there  were salmon  in the  Thames,                                                                    
     Seine and  the many  major inland arteries  of mainland                                                                    
     Europe.  They are gone.                                                                                                    
     There were  once salmon swimming  in the  Charles River                                                                    
     near  Boston,  and  the   many  tributaries  along  the                                                                    
     Eastern Seaboard.  They are gone.                                                                                          
     The salmon on the West  Coast, used to choke the mighty                                                                    
     Columbia  River and  the many  rivers and  streams that                                                                    
     line the Western edge of  the North American Continent.                                                                    
     They too are almost gone.                                                                                                  
     This  is  not  a  fairy tale,  it  is  historical  non-                                                                    
     fiction; all of these places  have one thing in common,                                                                    
     human  development  in  its  myriad  of  forms.    Laws                                                                    
     protecting salmon  and their  natal streams go  back to                                                                    
     the  Magna   Carta,  and   have  been   overlooked  and                                                                    
     unenforced for just as long.                                                                                               
     I have been to the  Tulsequah Mine site and seen first-                                                                    
     hand what 60-plus years of  acid mine drainage leeching                                                                    
     into a  river looks like.   I have spoken  with Tlingit                                                                    
     First Nations people, who  remember as children playing                                                                    
     in the  streams and  tributaries of the  Tulsequah full                                                                    
     of Coho salmon.  They are now almost gone.                                                                                 
     The  Territory of  Alaska was  purchased in  large part                                                                    
     due to our wealth in  salmon.  Salmon were the resource                                                                    
     that the populace of our  territory coalesced around to                                                                    
     vote to become  a state.  We have a  robust and revered                                                                    
     constitution  that   gives  us  simple   and  steadfast                                                                    
     guidance  to  protect  our  resources  to  the  maximum                                                                    
     benefit of our peoples now and in the future.                                                                              
     The Tulsequah  Mine acid leeching and  the Mount Polley                                                                    
     Dam collapse are warning signs  of a lack of oversight,                                                                    
     regulation, and stewardship  by the Canadian government                                                                    
     and  mining industry.   It  is paramount  that we  as a                                                                    
     state hold the B.C.  government to the highest possible                                                                    
     standards to protect our interests,  and theirs, in the                                                                    
     rivers  that flow  across our  shared border,  that are                                                                    
     protected under the Boundary Waters Treaty of 1910.                                                                        
     The Transboundary Rivers of the  Taku, Stikine, and the                                                                    
     Unuk are  the last remaining undeveloped  rivers on the                                                                    
     West Coast  of North America that  sustain natural runs                                                                    
     of all  5 species of  Pacific Salmon.  At  present they                                                                    
     are  intact ecosystems  that will  continue to  support                                                                    
     salmon  indefinitely.   If  we  fail  to recognize  and                                                                    
     accept the  historical antecedents of salmon  in Europe                                                                    
     and the rest  of the Continental United  States, I fear                                                                    
     salmon may become an allegory in a future fairy tale.                                                                      
1:59:47 PM                                                                                                                    
EMILY  FERRY,  Deputy  Director,  Southeast  Alaska  Conservation                                                               
Council  (SEACC), encouraged  the state  to seek  assistance from                                                               
national and  international communities  in order to  ensure that                                                               
British     Columbia    (B.C.)     assumes    the     appropriate                                                               
responsibilities.   Everyone shares  the same  concerns regarding                                                               
transboundary  mines,  with  the  looming  question  of  how  the                                                               
situation can  best be addressed.   The B.C. government  is fully                                                               
vested  in the  mining endeavors,  she cautioned,  precluding the                                                               
ability to entrust them to  protect Alaska's interests.  National                                                               
and international players  are needed to bear  witness and assist                                                               
in  holding  B.C.  responsible   and  maintain  clean  watersheds                                                               
affecting  Alaska.    She  pointed  out  that,  although  she  is                                                               
employed by SEACC, she considers her  most important job to be as                                                               
a mother,  which is  also one  of the  driving forces  behind her                                                               
interest in ensuring clean water and protecting fish stocks.                                                                    
2:01:13 PM                                                                                                                    
ELIAS FERRY,  Elementary School Student,  said that, as  an eight                                                               
year old,  when he  grows up he  would like to  still be  able to                                                               
2:01:56 PM                                                                                                                    
JON WARRENCHUCK,  Senior Scientist,  Oceana, said  Chinook salmon                                                               
stocks up and down the western  seaboard have been on the decline                                                               
for  50 years  and  are  in serious  trouble.   Adding  increased                                                               
development  pressures  to  the   mix,  will  only  excerpt  more                                                               
pressure on  this fragile species.   Alaska maintains sustainable                                                               
stocks,  he said  and  pointed out  that  Canada doesn't  elevate                                                               
sustainable fishing to the same  level, choosing instead to focus                                                               
support on  industrial endeavors, as  evidenced by the  number of                                                               
salmon farms that populate the  coastal areas of British Columbia                                                               
(B.C.),  as well  as  the  clear cutting  of  the rainforest  and                                                               
mining developments.  It is okay  to ask  for help, he  said, and                                                               
posited the  engagement of international bodies  through the U.S.                                                               
Department of  State.   The statement of  cooperation (SOC)  is a                                                               
good  beginning,   but  more   experienced  entities   should  be                                                               
approached for help as well, he finished.                                                                                       
2:04:10 PM                                                                                                                    
JAMES SCHRAMEK, Hydrologist, said  he retired from his profession                                                               
at the U.S. Forest Service, but  was a participant in the British                                                               
Columbia  (B.C.)  hydro dam  project.    Thus,  he said,  he  has                                                               
experience in  transboundary issues, as well  as an understanding                                                               
of the  scientific methods  associated with  developing allowable                                                               
standards and  risks.  He  urged the  committee to obtain  a firm                                                               
grasp of the  proposed projects, as an offset of  the plethora of                                                               
information that  has been brought  forward regarding what  is at                                                               
risk, and  said, "We  had assurances some  time ago  [that] Mount                                                               
Polley was  going to be a  solid [dam]."  Many  of the scientific                                                               
approaches contain  envelopes of uncertainty and  can be tenuous.                                                               
Close  scrutiny is  necessary, he  stressed,  and expressed  hope                                                               
that the  people whose values  are at risk  be given a  voice not                                                               
just  at  the  onset  but  throughout the  entire  process.    He                                                               
cautioned that, as issues arise, it  is necessary to have a means                                                               
for  adjustments  in order  to  avert  the disaster  everyone  is                                                               
hoping will not happen.                                                                                                         
2:06:20 PM                                                                                                                    
JOEL  JACKSON, Vice  President, Organized  Village of  Kake, said                                                               
concern revolves around  the known lack of  safe mining practices                                                               
demonstrated by the British Columbia  (B.C.) government.  Kake is                                                               
basically  a  Native   community  where  the  way   of  life  and                                                               
livelihoods  are  dependent  on  salmon, and  has  been  for  for                                                               
hundreds of  years.  Stating  agreement with  previous witnesses,                                                               
he  said  seeing mines  opened  at  the headwaters  of  important                                                               
salmon  watersheds is  incomprehensible.   The  salmon have  been                                                               
declining for  years now and  if anything  happens to any  of the                                                               
watersheds  there will  be negative  impacts on  future harvests.                                                               
He said  he chooses to  live in  a smaller community  where water                                                               
represents life  and the  people depend on  clean water  to live.                                                               
Engaging  the  international  community   will  be  necessary  to                                                               
forward this issue, he  said, or it will all be  a waste of time.                                                               
There is no amount of compensation  that would make up for losing                                                               
the salmon.                                                                                                                     
2:09:51 PM                                                                                                                    
AARON  ANGERMAN,   Tribal  Administrator,   Wrangell  Cooperative                                                               
Association,   Spokesman,  Stikine   Tribe,   said  the   Stikine                                                               
community, about 2,400 people, survive  almost solely on both the                                                               
habitat and the  bounty of the Stikine River.   Nearly 50 percent                                                               
of  Wrangell's adult  workforce is  tied to  maritime or  fishing                                                               
industries.   Tourism is  the other  dominant industry,  with the                                                               
Stikine  River  fishing  opportunities   as  a  main  attraction.                                                               
Commercial fishermen  have identified the  Red Chris mine  as the                                                               
biggest threat of all time.   Given the make-up of the job market                                                               
and the reliance on subsistence  lifestyles, the community cannot                                                               
afford a  mining failure of any  kind, whether minimal or  on the                                                               
level of Mount Polley.  A  complete tailings failure would be the                                                               
biggest disaster  that Wrangell has  ever faced and no  amount of                                                               
funding  would be  able  to  mitigate the  situation.   To  date,                                                               
Wrangell has  yet to be  consulted by  the Red Chris,  or British                                                               
Columbia  (B.C.)  mining officials,  to  share  risk and  benefit                                                               
perspectives.   Communications  initiated  from  Wrangell to  the                                                               
B.C.  government have  been  largely ignored,  he  reported.   He                                                               
urged that  an International Joint  Commission (IJC)  referral be                                                               
lodged, as the next logical step.                                                                                               
2:12:42 PM                                                                                                                    
KEVIN MAIER paraphrased from a  prepared statement, which read as                                                               
follows [original punctuation provided]:                                                                                        
     I'm here as an Alaskan  citizen, a sport fisherman, and                                                                    
     a  father to  encourage you  to do  everything in  your                                                                    
     power to stop these  mines on our Transboundary rivers.                                                                    
     As Alaskans, we have nothing  to gain and everything to                                                                    
     Although I've been living in Juneau since 2004, I grew                                                                     
     up on the Olympic Peninsula in Washington.  Like many                                                                      
     of my generation from the  Pacific Northwest, my salmon                                                                    
     story is marked primarily by loss and sorrow.                                                                              
     Like  a lot  of kids  from the  Northwest of  a certain                                                                    
     age, I  learned the virtue  of patience sitting  in the                                                                    
     back of  my grandparent's boat.   As we  motored around                                                                    
     the  Straits of  Juan de  Fuca watching  stout trolling                                                                    
     rods  bounce to  the bead  of  Abe and  Al Flashers,  I                                                                    
     patiently hoped they might bend  to something more than                                                                    
     the banana weight and provide  a little excitement.  My                                                                    
     two boys - who are now  5 and 9 - are (slowly) learning                                                                    
     these  same lessons  as  we spend  days  in the  summer                                                                    
     bobbing around in  our little skiff hoping  to fill the                                                                    
     The  next  year will  be  especially  poignant for  me,                                                                    
     because when I  was my older son's  age my grandparents                                                                    
     hung  up  their  rods,  sold their  boat,  and  stopped                                                                    
     fishing, a  sad but  necessary response  to diminishing                                                                    
     returns  on  their trolling  efforts.    As the  stocks                                                                    
     dwindled   in   the    1980s,   the   regulations   got                                                                    
     complicated,  the fish  too  few,  and my  grandparents                                                                    
     lost the  heart to go.   I lost the only  anglers in my                                                                    
     extended family.                                                                                                           
     Nobody can point  to one single factor that  led to the                                                                    
     dramatic declines  of salmon  stocks in  the Northwest;                                                                    
     it is  more a death  by a  thousand cuts than  a single                                                                    
     catastrophe.  But experts all  agree, fish need healthy                                                                    
     water, intact  habitat, and humans to  pay attention to                                                                    
     these simple needs.                                                                                                        
     At ten,  all I knew  was that we weren't  going fishing                                                                    
     anymore.    I  managed  to  find  the  sport  again  in                                                                    
     college;  and for  the last  twenty years,  fishing has                                                                    
     been integral  to my  life outside -  and for  the last                                                                    
     several years,  my income as well,  as I work as  a fly                                                                    
     fishing guide here  in the summer.  I've  never made up                                                                    
     for the  lost time of  my youth, however, and  I always                                                                    
     pursue salmon with  a sense of gratitude  and above all                                                                    
     I've  spent most  of my  adult  life doing  my best  to                                                                    
     insure we leave enough water  and habitat for the fish,                                                                    
     pushing back  against threats to  both.  As we  can see                                                                    
     in  the extraordinarily  expensive  efforts to  restore                                                                    
     runs on the Columbia, it  is easier to preserve habitat                                                                    
     and  adopt a  cautionary  approach when  we still  have                                                                    
     salmon  returning to  intact watersheds.   The  threats                                                                    
     posed to salmon habitat  by the Transboundary mines are                                                                    
     serious,  as we  saw in  the tailings  disaster at  the                                                                    
     Mount Polley mine, and as you've heard here today.                                                                         
2:16:32 PM                                                                                                                    
SHAYNE  GUTHRIE, Student,  University of  Alaska Southeast  (UAS)                                                               
said fish comprises  the majority of her student diet.   The loss                                                               
of fish would  affect the Native's efforts  for cultural renewal,                                                               
as well  as fishing industry related  jobs.  The impact  would be                                                               
significant,  she  opined,  and  stressed that  there  should  be                                                               
guarantees  that  future  generations   will  also  benefit  from                                                               
healthy  fish runs.    The ancestors  of  the current  Metlakatla                                                               
Natives made  a historical  choice to  occupy the  entire island.                                                               
She pointed out that this was  foresight on their part, to ensure                                                               
that  the benefits  of  the land  would be  intact  for the  many                                                               
generations  to come.   It  is now  up to  us to  make a  similar                                                               
choice  and protect  the fish  and  land for  the generations  to                                                               
2:19:21 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR STUTES closed public testimony.                                                                                           
2:19:41 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE ORTIZ  noted that the consistent  theme, expressed                                                               
throughout  the hearing,  calls  for the  legislature to  request                                                               
that the U.S. government engage  the Canadian government, via the                                                               
International Joint Commission (IJC)  process, in order to better                                                               
protect Southeast  interests and ensure protections  that include                                                               
Alaska's fishing  industry, as well  as cultural  and traditional                                                               
heritage concerns.                                                                                                              
2:21:04 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR EGAN  concurred with the comments  made by Representative                                                               
Ortiz.  After 10 years of  talking, he said, a starting point has                                                               
been found through the statement  of cooperation (SOC), thanks to                                                               
the current administration.                                                                                                     
2:21:45 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  STUTES  agreed with  the  previous  members comments,  and                                                               
underscored the governor's fish  first policy, which includes the                                                               
transboundary issues.  She then re-opened public testimony.                                                                     
2:23:03 PM                                                                                                                    
BEN KIRKPATRICK, Habitat Biologist,  noted work he assisted with,                                                               
during  his  tenure at  the  Alaska  Department  of Fish  &  Game                                                               
(ADF&G),  which  included  mining  permit  negotiations  for  the                                                               
Tulsequah  Chief, AJ,  and Kensington  operations.   Despite  the                                                               
permitting of these  mines, many of the same  issues still exist.                                                               
To make progress on the  transboundary issues, he stressed, it is                                                               
imperative to  include government  entities beyond the  state and                                                               
provincial  levels.    An International  Joint  Commission  (IJC)                                                               
referral, as has been suggested,  is certainly in order, he said,                                                               
and is the  best means for stemming the  reiteration of continued                                                               
issues surrounding the proposed mines.                                                                                          
CHAIR STUTES thanked everyone for their participation.                                                                          
2:25:12 PM                                                                                                                    
There being no  further business before the  committee, the House                                                               
Special  Committee on  Fisheries  meeting was  adjourned at  2:25                                                               

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
FINAL TB Statement of Cooperation.pdf HFSH 10/12/2016 10:00:00 AM
FINAL Southeast Alaska Transboundary Watershed Economic Impacts - Executive Summary.pdf HFSH 10/12/2016 10:00:00 AM
UTTMWG comments on SOC.pdf HFSH 10/12/2016 10:00:00 AM
Fred Olsen Oped Indigenous Leaders Unite to Protect International Watersheds.pdf HFSH 10/12/2016 10:00:00 AM
Fred Olsen Oped Times Colonist.pdf HFSH 10/12/2016 10:00:00 AM
United Tribal Transboundary Mining Work Group Report.pdf HFSH 10/12/2016 10:00:00 AM
David Chambers Recommendations Missing in the Proposed BC Code Changes.pdf HFSH 10/12/2016 10:00:00 AM
Dave Chambers Alaska Legislative Presentation - Juneau 12Oct16.pdf HFSH 10/12/2016 10:00:00 AM
David Chambers Summary Conclusions section from Bowker and Chambers 2015.pdf HFSH 10/12/2016 10:00:00 AM
UFA to Gov & Lt Gov re Transboundary Mines 120915.pdf HFSH 10/12/2016 10:00:00 AM
UFA comments on KSM mine 082014.pdf HFSH 10/12/2016 10:00:00 AM
UFA Transboundary Rivers Letter of Concern to Alaska Delegation 3.12.2014-2.pdf HFSH 10/12/2016 10:00:00 AM
USAG comments on TB mines.pdf HFSH 10/12/2016 10:00:00 AM
Mount Polley Media Briefing Presentation.pdf HFSH 10/12/2016 10:00:00 AM
TB letter Brodersen.pdf HFSH 10/12/2016 10:00:00 AM
TB letter Chrichton.pdf HFSH 10/12/2016 10:00:00 AM
TB letter Connolly.pdf HFSH 10/12/2016 10:00:00 AM
TB letter Edens.pdf HFSH 10/12/2016 10:00:00 AM
TB letter Hohenthaner.pdf HFSH 10/12/2016 10:00:00 AM
TB letter Kaelke.pdf HFSH 10/12/2016 10:00:00 AM
TB letter Kisaka.pdf HFSH 10/12/2016 10:00:00 AM
TB letter Lagoudakis.pdf HFSH 10/12/2016 10:00:00 AM
TB letter Steeley Helen.pdf HFSH 10/12/2016 10:00:00 AM
TB letter Steeley.pdf HFSH 10/12/2016 10:00:00 AM
Transboundary Form Letter.pdf HFSH 10/12/2016 10:00:00 AM
TB letter Archibald.pdf HFSH 10/12/2016 10:00:00 AM
Transboundary Map - ATTACHMENT A.PDF HFSH 10/12/2016 10:00:00 AM
Oct 12 Transboundary Mines.pdf HFSH 10/12/2016 10:00:00 AM
Southeast Alaska Transboundary Watersheds with Mining Activities.pdf HFSH 10/12/2016 10:00:00 AM
BC Financial Assurances Report.pdf HFSH 10/12/2016 10:00:00 AM
BC AUD GEN SUM.pdf HFSH 10/12/2016 10:00:00 AM
2015 AK Poll Memo (Public).pdf HFSH 10/12/2016 10:00:00 AM
Senator Murray letter to Secretary John Kerry.pdf HFSH 10/12/2016 10:00:00 AM
TB Letter Driscoll.pdf HFSH 10/12/2016 10:00:00 AM
TB Letter Neall.pdf HFSH 10/12/2016 10:00:00 AM
TB Letter Stokes.pdf HFSH 10/12/2016 10:00:00 AM
TB Letter Worrell.pdf HFSH 10/12/2016 10:00:00 AM
TB Letter West.pdf HFSH 10/12/2016 10:00:00 AM
TB Letter Weinstein.pdf HFSH 10/12/2016 10:00:00 AM
TB Letter Callahan.pdf HFSH 10/12/2016 10:00:00 AM
TB Letter ATA.pdf HFSH 10/12/2016 10:00:00 AM
TB Letter Barnwell.pdf HFSH 10/12/2016 10:00:00 AM
Kerry Response to AK Delegation Sept 8th letter on TB mines.pdf HFSH 10/12/2016 10:00:00 AM
Schindler Transboundary Rivers.pdf HFSH 10/12/2016 10:00:00 AM
Kerry Response to AK Delegation Sept 8th letter on TB mines.pdf HFSH 10/12/2016 10:00:00 AM
TB Letter J Wood.pdf HFSH 10/12/2016 10:00:00 AM
TB Letter Mastrella.pdf HFSH 10/12/2016 10:00:00 AM
TB Letter Walker.pdf HFSH 10/12/2016 10:00:00 AM
TB Letters Sitka LIO.pdf HFSH 10/12/2016 10:00:00 AM
TB Letter Rubinstein.pdf HFSH 10/12/2016 10:00:00 AM
TB Letter Debenham.pdf HFSH 10/12/2016 10:00:00 AM
TB letter Jones.pdf HFSH 10/12/2016 10:00:00 AM
TB Letter Weitz.pdf HFSH 10/12/2016 10:00:00 AM