Legislature(1999 - 2000)
03/26/1999 01:08 PM RES
* first hearing in first committee of referral
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
HOUSE RESOURCES STANDING COMMITTEE March 26, 1999 1:08 p.m. MEMBERS PRESENT Representative Scott Ogan, Co-Chair Representative John Harris Representative Carl Morgan Representative Jim Whitaker Representative Reggie Joule MEMBERS ABSENT Representative Jerry Sanders, Co-Chair Representative Beverly Masek, Vice Chair Representative Ramona Barnes Representative Mary Kapsner OTHER HOUSE MEMBERS PRESENT REPRESENTATIVE JEANNETTE JAMES COMMITTEE CALENDAR * HOUSE CONCURRENT RESOLUTION NO. 4 Supporting the responsible development of the Tulsequah Chief Mine through the cooperative effort of Alaska and British Columbia and urging Governor Knowles to withdraw his request for a referral of the Tulsequah Chief Mine to the International Joint Commission under the Boundary Waters Treaty. - HEARD AND HELD (* First public hearing) PREVIOUS ACTION BILL: HCR 4 SHORT TITLE: TULSEQUAH CHIEF MINE SPONSOR(S): REPRESENTATIVES(S) PORTER, Barnes Jrn-Date Jrn-Page Action 3/19/99 513 (H) READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRAL(S) 3/19/99 513 (H) RESOURCES 3/26/99 (H) RES AT 1:00 PM CAPITOL 124 WITNESS REGISTER REPRESENTATIVE BRIAN PORTER Alaska State Legislature Capitol Building, Room 208 Juneau, Alaska 99801 Telephone: (907) 465-4930 POSITION STATEMENT: Sponsor of HCR 4. NORM RINGSTAD, Project Assessment Director Environmental Assessment Office P.O. Box 9426 Stn Prov Govt Victoria, British Columbia V8W 9V1 Canada Telephone: (250) 356-7481 POSITION STATEMENT: At invitation of sponsor of HCR 4, explained review process and answered questions. BOB CARMICHAEL Redfern Resources Limited 900-999 West Hastings Street Vancouver, British Columbia Canada Telephone: (604) 669-4775 POSITION STATEMENT: Gave slide presentation on technical aspects of proposed mine, relating to HCR 4. AL CLOUGH, Local Chapter President Alaska Miners Association, Incorporated Kvaerner Environmental 3100 Channel Drive, Suite 2 Juneau, Alaska 99801 Telephone: (907) 463-4489 POSITION STATEMENT: Testified in favor of tenets in HCR 4. ERROL CHAMPION, Cabin Owner and Member Taku River Recreation Association P.O. Box 295 Douglas, Alaska 99824 Telephone: (907) 789-2055 POSITION STATEMENT: Encouraged including language in HCR 4 that demands response from Redfern Resources and the B.C. government on how they plan to protect and ensure downstream water quality. DOUGLAS DOBYNS, Environmental Planner Douglas Indian Association P.O. Box 240541 Douglas, Alaska 99824 Telephone: (907) 364-3567 POSITION STATEMENT: Testified on HCR 4; discussed joint project with EPA and USGS to conduct water quality monitoring on the Taku River, and poor track record of British Columbia mines regarding water quality. MICHAEL DUNLAP, Council Member Douglas Indian Association P.O. Box 240541 Douglas, Alaska 99824-0541 Telephone: (907) 364-2916 POSITION STATEMENT: Testified in opposition to HCR 4. ELDON DENNIS, Fisherman P.O. Box 20070 Juneau, Alaska 99802 Telephone: (907) 586-3544 POSITION STATEMENT: Testified on HCR 4 in support of Governor's position on IJC review. CARL PETERSON, Fisherman 2403 Aurora Court Juneau, Alaska 99801 Telephone: (907) 790-2794 POSITION STATEMENT: Testified in opposition to HCR 4. KATHY WELTZIN P.O. Box 210665 Auke Bay, Alaska 99821 Telephone: (907) 789-0288 POSITION STATEMENT: Testified on HCR 4; expressed concern about road and encouraged focus to be on watershed. JIM BECKER, President Juneau Chapter United Southeast Alaska Gillnetters P.O. Box 240522 Douglas, Alaska 99824-0522 Telephone: (907) 586-1900 POSITION STATEMENT: Testified on HCR 4; expressed concerns and spoke in support of Governor's position. AARON BRAKEL 420 East Street Juneau, Alaska 99801 Telephone: (907) 586-1504 POSITION STATEMENT: Testified on HCR 4; expressed concerns and spoke in support of Governor's position. JAY CRONDAHL 626 Fifth Street Juneau, Alaska 99801 Telephone: (907) 586-1464 POSITION STATEMENT: Testified in opposition to HCR 4. BRAD PIERCE, Taku River Cabin Owner 3281 Nowell Avenue Juneau, Alaska 99801 Telephone: (907) 463-4831 POSITION STATEMENT: Testified on HCR 4; expressed support for Governor's position. LAURIE FERGUSON CRAIG, Issues Coordinator Alaskans for Juneau P.O. Box 22428 Juneau, Alaska 99802 Telephone: (907) 789-2768 POSITION STATEMENT: Testified in opposition to passing HCR 4 at this time and in support of IJC consideration. RICH DAVIS Seafood Producers Cooperative 2347 Kevin Court Juneau, Alaska 99801 Telephone: (907) 789-2696 POSITION STATEMENT: Testified in opposition to HCR 4. ROBERT BOSWORTH, Deputy Commissioner Alaska Department of Fish and Game P.O. Box 25526 Juneau, Alaska 99802-5526 Telephone: (907) 465-6140 POSITION STATEMENT: Testified on HCR 4; detailed department's concerns and answered questions. TIM BRISTOL Southeast Alaska Conservation Council 419 Sixth Street Juneau, Alaska 99801 Telephone: (907) 586-6945 POSITION STATEMENT: Testified in opposition to HCR 4. DON WEIR, President Taku Wilderness Association (No address provided) Atlin, British Columbia, Canada Telephone: (Not provided) POSITION STATEMENT: Testified on HCR 4; discussed concerns about proposed road and long-term effects to watershed, as well as B.C.'s poor track record regarding monitoring and regulation of mines. JOAN JACK Nakina Center for Aboriginal Learning and Living (No address provided) Atlin, British Columbia, Canada Telephone: (250) 651-7557 POSITION STATEMENT: Testified on HCR 4; expressed concerns. BRYAN JACK, Taku River Tlingit (No address provided) Atlin, British Columbia, Canada Telephone: (250) 651-7799 POSITION STATEMENT: Testified on HCR 4 in opposition to the road and in support of IJC review. ROGER BURGGRAF 830 Sheep Creek Road Fairbanks, Alaska 99709 Telephone: (907) 479-2596 POSITION STATEMENT: Testified in support of HCR 4. MARY NORDALE 100 Cushman Street, Suite 311 Fairbanks, Alaska 99701 Telephone: (907) 479-2596 POSITION STATEMENT: Testified in support of HCR 4. WILLIAM CAMPBELL, Taku River Tlingit (No address provided) Atlin, British Columbia, Canada Telephone: (250) 651-7799 POSITION STATEMENT: Testified on HCR 4 in opposition to the road and mine. CLAY FRICK P.O. Box 8118 Port Alexander, Alaska 99836 Telephone: (Not provided) POSITION STATEMENT: Testified in opposition to HCR 4. JOEL BENNETT 15255 Point Louisa Road Juneau, Alaska 99801 Telephone: (907) 789-1718 POSITION STATEMENT: Testified on HCR 4; spoke in favor of Governor's position and further IJC review; expressed concerns about coho salmon habitat. PHILLIP GRAY 4410 North Douglas Highway Juneau, Alaska 99801 Telephone: (907) 586-6913 POSITION STATEMENT: Testified in opposition to HCR 4 and in support of Governor's proposal regarding IJC. NEIL MacKINNON 1114 Glacier Avenue Juneau, Alaska 99801 Telephone: (907) 586-3494 POSITION STATEMENT: Testified on HCR 4; expressed concerns about impacts of environmental groups on Taku River. WAYNE WEIHING Tongass Conservation Society P.O. Box 1193 Ketchikan, Alaska 99901 Telephone: (907) 247-8276 POSITION STATEMENT: Testified on HCR 4; spoke in support of Governor's position regarding IJC. MIKE SALLEE P.O. Box 7603 Ketchikan, Alaska 99901 Telephone: (907) 247-7603 POSITION STATEMENT: Testified on HCR 4; expressed concerns. KERRY HOWARD Project Review Division of Governmental Coordination Office of Management and Budget Office of the Governor P.O. Box 110030 Juneau, Alaska 99811-0030 Telephone: (907) 465-8794 POSITION STATEMENT: During hearing on HCR 4, answered questions relating to recourse for state and effects of IJC referral. ACTION NARRATIVE TAPE 99-20, SIDE A Number 0001 CO-CHAIR SCOTT OGAN called the House Resources Standing Committee meeting to order at 1:08 p.m. Members present at the call to order were Representatives Ogan, Harris, Morgan, Whitaker and Joule. HCR 4 - TULSEQUAH CHIEF MINE CO-CHAIR OGAN announced that the committee would hear House Concurrent Resolution No. 4, supporting the responsible development of the Tulsequah Chief Mine through the cooperative effort of Alaska and British Columbia and urging Governor Knowles to withdraw his request for a referral of the Tulsequah Chief Mine to the International Joint Commission under the Boundary Waters Treaty. Number 0076 REPRESENTATIVE BRIAN PORTER, Alaska State Legislature, prime sponsor of HCR 4, came forward. He told members he had heard both sides regarding the proposed mine in British Columbia (B.C.), including the point of view that the process is too risky for Alaska, and that Alaska should intercede. However, he believes that the mine is worthy of consideration. He asked members to listen to the testimony and make their own judgments. REPRESENTATIVE PORTER acknowledged that the permitting system for mines in B.C. is different from that in Alaska; however, he doesn't believe that necessarily makes it deficient. He stated, "The House Majority, for the years that I have been here, has basically supported the notion of responsible resource development. Whether you say 'responsible resource development' or 'resource development in a responsible way' shouldn't make a difference, but I think, in this case, perhaps, some people are trying to convince others that it does make a difference which way you say that." He suggested that although some may describe B.C.'s system as new and untested, he believes that is not the case; he urged members to ask about that point. REPRESENTATIVE PORTER said as he understands it, the B.C. system allows, after initial certification inquiries, for permits to be issued as development occurs; in contrast, in Alaska almost all permitting happens before any development may take place. He stated, "The criticism of this type of a system, I have heard, is that once the project is underway it has a self-fulfilling quality, and that the permitting is actually diminished because of that. I think you will hear, from the folks that know about it and do it, that that isn't the case." Representative Porter submitted that in some cases, Alaska's system, which allows "challenges and repeated inquiries and virtual arbitrations" before one bit of a project has begun, is an opportunity for "obstructionism" so that a project will never occur. REPRESENTATIVE PORTER asked members to look at the following: 1) whether the B.C. system meets the same standards, albeit with a different method, that our own systems and standards for environmental protection have; 2) whether the system is adequate for protecting the concerns that people have about the road construction, and whether it is really going to be a public road; 3) whether First Nation considerations in Canada are about the mine project or about longstanding land disputes, and what the involvement is of First Nation peoples in the process; and 4) what risks are associated with the mine tailings, including where they will be located and in what amounts. REPRESENTATIVE PORTER stated, "Our system would want every single one of these questions answered before the project could begin. I guess the question remains, again: Will the standards that we expect to be met be met under the system that they have?" He next pointed out that HCR 4 asks that a referral to the International Joint Commission (IJC) not occur. Noting the steps and time that such a referral would involve, he asked members to determine whether that referral would provide additional information or protections to this project, and whether it is appropriate or "obstructionistic." Representative Porter asked Mr. Keith Ogilvie [Special Advisor, International Relations, Intergovernmental Relations Secretariat] and Mr. Norm Ringstad of the Environmental Assessment Office in B.C. to explain how their system works and answer questions; he indicated that he himself had to leave. Number 0667 CO-CHAIR OGAN invited Representative Jeannette James to join members at the table, which she did. He then invited Mr. Ogilvie and Mr. Ringstad to the witness table; Mr. Ogilvie declined, deferring to Mr. Ringstad, but offered to answer questions. Number 0751 CO-CHAIR OGAN asked whether the system in place in B.C. is equal to, or compatible with, Alaska's system, and what safeguards will be in place. He noted that this project has generated more public interest than most other mining projects in Alaska. Number 0855 NORM RINGSTAD, Project Assessment Director, Environmental Assessment Office, came forward, noting that he is with the British Columbia Environmental Assessment Office in Victoria. He specified that he and Mr. Ogilvie were present to provide information, not to take a position on HCR 4. He indicated he would answer by providing a quick summary of their entire process, which he hoped would be enough of a basis to determine the comparability of their processes and products to those in Alaska. He stated: As you may be aware, this project has been under review since 1994. The Tulsequah project was subject to the British Columbia Environmental Act, as most - if not all - major mining projects are in British Columbia. The project was also subject to the provisions of the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, so there was a federal Canadian government review process, as well as a provincial government review process, that this project had to come through prior to a decision being made on whether or not it could proceed. As part of the meeting of the requirements of both of those processes, I chaired a committee called the Tulsequah Project Committee, and that committee comprises provincial British Columbia government agencies, the Yukon government agencies, First Nations, Alaska state and U.S. federal agency representatives. We, as a committee, coordinated the overall review of this project to meet the requirements of both our British Columbia Environmental Assessment Act and the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act; and we did that over a three-and-a-half-year period, beginning in the fall of 1994 and culminating in a set of recommendations to our respective decision makers on the Canadian side in March of 1998. I should point out that the Environmental Assessment Act, as it applied to this project, is a fairly new process in and of itself; the Act was proclaimed in June of 1995. However, the Environmental Assessment Act is modeled on the previous British Columbia Mine Development Assessment Act and process. ... Since 1976, there has been a coordinated overall environmental assessment review process for ... mining projects in British Columbia. Throughout the review, we ensured that all of the issues that were raised were taken into consideration. We identified issues specific to the potential for transboundary affect on water quality and fisheries; and knowing that there was a potential for transboundary effects, we complied with the transboundary consultation / notification / information requirements of the treaties for ensuring that ... our neighboring jurisdictions were involved in the review, and also that their issues were taken into consideration. In March of 1998, at the conclusion of the review, the British Columbia ministers of Energy and Mines, and Environment, Lands and Parks, approved the project to proceed to permitting, and they did that with the issuance of a project approval certificate. In and around the same time, the federal government, under the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, accepted the project review conclusions as meeting their review needs, and also authorized the project to proceed to the next level of review under our statutory permitting. I should point out that in British Columbia we have a two-stage decision-making process. The first stage is a conceptual level ... of assessment, identification and resolution of strategic issues; if it is determined that there are no strategic flaws that ... would arise in the project during the permitting stage, that is the time when the British Columbia government approves the project to move to the permitting stage. At the permitting stage, there are a number of provincial and federal statutory permit requirements, at which time the detailed, technical assessment design and mitigation plans are put together, in support of making applications for the permits; and until each of those permits [is] obtained for each of the components of development, ... no construction takes place. The project approval certificate given at the first stage of review does not authorize a project ... to actually go into construction; it only authorizes it to move to the permitting process. Number 1226 In March, when the decisions were made to have the project move to the permitting process, it was acknowledged that there were a number of outstanding concerns raised by U.S. federal agencies and Alaska state agencies, concerning a number of issues related to transboundary effects. As a result of that, British Columbia and Canada did two major things. Number one, it made a formal invitation to Alaska state and U.S. federal agencies to continue to participate actively in the review of those permit applications, by way of sitting on a regionally based standing committee of permitting agencies, ... and that committee would take the role of coordinating the review of those permit applications, and would include the further consideration of the concerns raised by Alaska state and U.S. federal agencies. MR. RINGSTAD told members the second thing they did was embark on an 11-month continuation of bilateral discussions and information exchanges between B.C., Canada and U.S. federal and state agencies. In 1998, they met three times - in Washington, D.C., in April; in Vancouver, B.C., in November; and in Seattle, Washington, in December - producing a number of further documents and communications. Through that 11 months of iterative dialogue and consultation, technical specialists on water quality and fisheries on the Canadian side dealt directly with the technical specialists on the Alaskan and U.S. federal sides. MR. RINGSTAD stated that it was their hope on the Canadian side that the 11 months of "bilaterals" would bring the comfort level up for the U.S. agencies, "to agree that our permitting process is a process within which the remaining issues - which are technical in nature - can be resolved, and the standards for environmental protection, through that permitting process, will be ... equivalent to that in Alaska." As to the comparability between Alaska state or U.S. federal processes and their B.C. and Canada processes, he said he cannot answer the question any more specifically. Number 1396 CO-CHAIR OGAN asked Mr. Ringstad whether there are other mining cases dealing with transboundary circumstances between Alaska and Canada. MR. RINGSTAD answered that there are a number of mining projects located in northwestern B.C. on transboundary rivers. There is the Premier-Silbak mine near Hyder, Alaska, on a tributary leading into the Salmon River. There is the Cominco Snip Gold Mine on a tributary leading to the Iskut River. And in the same general vicinity are the International Skyline Johnny Mountain Mine and the Prime Resources Eskay Mine; the latter mine is located in the headwaters of the Unuk River. MR. RINGSTAD noted that these projects were also subject to the province's mine review process, prior to proceeding to permitting. After clearing the first hurdle, they had moved into the permitting stage, then into the development-operations stage. Some of them are now closed, or in the process of being abandoned and reclaimed. MR. RINGSTAD stated, "During those reviews, there was an invitation for American input at the EA [Environmental Assessment] review, and it is my understanding from discussing with technical specialists in the Ministry of Environment on the British Columbia side - who are responsible for the permitting of and the maintenance of water quality - that, in fact, these projects are meeting the compliance standards for water quality, and the potential for downstream effects is not considered to be significant." Number 1543 CO-CHAIR OGAN asked whether Mr. Ringstad believes that there would be the same results with this mine. MR. RINGSTAD replied: Yes, I do. At the first stage of decision making that we completed by March last year, one of the major tasks of the committee was to determine the potential for significant effects, in a transboundary context, on fish and water quality. Through the iterative approach to modifying the mine plan design - to make it as environmentally friendly as necessary, in the process of looking at accumulative effects, assessment of water quality, and looking at the road access in terms of potential for effects on fish - both the British Columbia environmental assessment process participants and the federal government, who also participated, were satisfied that with the adoption of the appropriate mitigation measures during the construction and operation, that there would be no potential for any transboundary effects. And, also, during our permitting process, it is my understanding from my discussions with the Ministry of Environment on the British Columbia side that, from a water quality point of view, the standards to be set for permitting the mine will be similar or equivalent to the standards set as if the mine was in Alaska. Number 1630 CO-CHAIR OGAN asked why Mr. Ringstad believes this project is being treated differently, if there has been past experience doing this. MR. RINGSTAD said he doesn't know why. He agreed that the concerns raised on this project were not similarly raised in the other mine project reviews relating to transboundary rivers, although the same types and levels of potential for effects, and the same types and levels of mitigation strategies, were in place. Number 1670 CO-CHAIR OGAN called an at-ease at 1:30 p.m. to bring more chairs into the crowded committee room; he called the meeting back to order at 1:34 p.m. He asked Mr. Ringstad to explain the design criteria regarding the tailings impoundment; specifically, he asked what level of flooding would need to occur to destroy the tailings impoundment dam. MR. RINGSTAD said he could answer by providing a summary of the conclusions reached by their technical experts in discussions with technical experts on the United States side. He pointed out that the dam and tailings impoundment are located on the fan of the flood plain of Shazah Creek, a tributary to the Tulsequah River, outside the 100-year flood plain of the Tulsequah River. Although they are within a determined flood plain of Shazah Creek, it is yet to be determined, through further detailed assessment, exactly which flood plain they are in. MR. RINGSTAD told members the dam will be designed to the specifications of Canadian dam safety standards. The actual design criteria will be established during the permitting process, but it will be designed to withstand whatever natural disaster is deemed to be "within the realm of happening." At this time, he doesn't believe there is a final dam design specification. Mr. Ringstad stated: Through the discussions that I have been involved in, and the subgroups that I have chaired, it was obvious to me that the permittors for the dam will ensure that the dam design criteria will be extremely conservative, to ensure that the dam would withstand any natural hazard event, whether it's a debris flow, whether it's ... a hydrological event. It was determined through ... a fairly detailed reconnaissance-level review of the potential for hazards that debris torrents, debris hazards, are not a major factor that would influence the integrity of ... the tailings pond and dam. Hydrologically, the Shazah Creek has some hydrological data on it from which we can determine return periods. More information will be collected over the life of the project to help finalize what the final dam design would be, but it is my understanding from what I have heard that a doubling ... of the ... 200-year ... flows in Shazah Creek would make that event up in the 1-to-10,000-return event, and it is my understanding - from the technical experts on the Canadian side - that that would not breach the dam, or in any way destroy its integrity, from the point of view of failure. Notwithstanding, that type of an event, if it ever did happen, could require maintenance or upgrading ... on the armament around the face of the dam. But the actual dam design details will be determined at the permitting stage, under the Provincial Mines Act. Number 1907 CO-CHAIR OGAN asked whether there are any health or environmental hazards from the tailings materials. MR. RINGSTAD explained that one feature of this mine design - as he understands it from the subcommittees that dealt with this - is that the ore mined has with it a pyrite high-sulfide waste material, which would end up in the tailings stream. There would be a pyrite float in the mill circuit, which would remove all, or the majority, of the sulfide material from the tailings; that pyrite float would be mixed with cement and made into a paste backfill, then put back into the underground stopes, both from a mine safety point of view and as an acceptable disposal technology for acid-producing waste material. MR. RINGSTAD noted that it is proposed to put into the milling process a source of calcium carbonate from a nearby limestone quarry, so that the remaining tailings going into the tailings pond are non-acid-generating. He specified that there are no "health hazard constituents" of the tailings or the effluent. Mr. Ringstad then stated: It is my understanding from toxicity testing of bench-scale effluent tests that rainbow trout have passed the LC-50 (ph) tests with 100 percent survival in a 96-hour period, meaning that the effluent in the tailings pond is not acutely toxic. ... There is no discharge from the tailings pond during the life of the project, as it is currently planned. There is a total - 100 percent - recycling of all tailings water into the milling process. Any seepage from the dam, any seepage from the tailings pond will be monitored through the development of monitoring wells around the face of the dam downstream, with the potential mitigation plan of pumping any water back into the tailings pond if it was found to be of a deleterious manner. ... At reclamation, the pond will be dried, and the tailings themselves will be covered with a suitable growth medium, and the reclamation plan [is] to leave them in a dry, revegetated state. Number 2058 CO-CHAIR OGAN asked, "Would you take some of those tailings, put them in a large glass, pour water over it and drink the water?" MR. RINGSTAD said he couldn't answer that. CO-CHAIR OGAN stated his understanding that B.C. has had a time deadline to get a permit processed. He asked how many extensions there have been regarding this project. MR. RINGSTAD replied that, for the entire review, there were four. CO-CHAIR OGAN asked whether Mr. Ringstad had attempted to schedule an appointment with the Governor while he is in Juneau. MR. RINGSTAD said he had not. Number 2109 REPRESENTATIVE JOULE asked what the situation is with the First Nations people, in terms of the land settlement and entitlement, and where the First Nations people stand with this project. MR. RINGSTAD said that is outside his area of expertise or mandate, but it is his understanding that the Tlingit First Nation people are engaged in B.C.'s treaty planning process, "at a certain stage." Treaty issues are not covered by his office under the British Columbia Environmental Assessment Act, because there is another arena in which those issues are being addressed. He noted that Tlingit representatives were present, then stated: We invited Tlingit to sit on the project committee in 1994; they actively participated in the review, throughout the entire three-and-a-half-year period. They have been invited to continue to participate in the permitting process, and I can say that their participation - both by themselves and with their consultants - made a positive contribution to making a better mine plan, and it made a major contribution to probably one of the most progressive environmental follow-up-and-monitoring programs for this project that we have had in British Columbia. And, notwithstanding that, they do still have some concerns with respect to this project in their traditional territory. The province keeps an open-door policy to continue to discuss with them the nature of those concerns and opportunities for resolution. In the meantime, as you may be aware, in February the Taku Tlingit laid a petition with supporting affidavits into the B.C. Supreme Court, and so the matter is now before the courts. ... I cannot say much more about it than that." Number 2254 REPRESENTATIVE HARRIS expressed his understanding that the B.C. government has issued the environmental permit for this mine. MR. RINGSTAD responded: We do not have an environmental permit. What has been issued - and it was issued in March of '98 - was what they refer to as a project approval certificate, which was basically an approval to proceed to permitting, with no authority to undertake any construction. The major permits required of the proponent before surface disturbance can be undertaken: on the road, it is a permit under the Forest Practices Code of British Columbia Act - that would be ... a permit to construct the road; under the Mines Act, it would be a work system approval and reclamation plan permit for the mine site; and under the British Columbia Waste Management Act, a permit for the handling of any waste material. And none of those permits have been issued to date. Number 2315 REPRESENTATIVE HARRIS noted that a communication says that Redfern Resources Limited, the company involved, hasn't addressed the water quality issue downstream of the mine. He requested a response. MR. RINGSTAD replied: The advice I received from those agencies with the technical expertise on water quality on the B.C. and Canadian side agreed that the potential for downstream water quality effects was not significant, and that, through the British Columbia waste management permitting system, that the details of ... those issues ... will be addressed to the satisfaction of both British Columbia and Canada, and Alaska state, and, as such, before the project is approved to discharge any contaminant materials, that all of those issues would have to be addressed satisfactorily. Number 2372 REPRESENTATIVE HARRIS asked, "Do you feel, from the Canadian side of things, that it's essential that this go before the International Joint Commission, or ... can it be handled between the two governments?" MR. RINGSTAD answered: Through the continuing bilateral discussions we've had with B.C., Canada and U.S. federal and state agencies, British Columbia has taken the position that we feel that ... our permitting process is an appropriate venue within which to address the remaining issues, and that, by way of the invitation for the Alaska state and U.S. federal agencies to participate, we feel that is an appropriate venue. Number 2442 BOB CARMICHAEL, Redfern Resources Limited (Vancouver, B.C.), came forward to give a slide presentation. He explained that the project is located on the bank of the Tulsequah River, about 14 kilometers upstream from the confluence with the Taku River, to which the Tulsequah is a tributary. The tailings pond is on Shazah Creek, a tributary to the Tulsequah River. The closest that the mine itself will get to the Taku River is about 14 kilometers. MR. CARMICHAEL showed a slide looking up the Tulsequah River, depicting the old Polaris Taku townsite on the left and the mine site on the right, with Shazah Creek flowing into the Tulsequah River. He then showed a slide of the townsite of Tulsequah. He told members that the valley has a fairly long history of mining activity; the town existed there for about 30 years, serving the Polaris Taku and later the Tulsequah Chief Mine. MR. CARMICHAEL next showed a slide of the ore deposit, with historic and proposed workings. He pointed out that the entire ore body, as it exists, and the planned underground workings are below the level of the river. The deposit is located about three-quarters of a mile into the side of the mountain from the river. Upon closure of the mine and reclamation, this mine will be allowed to flood naturally, and all the stopes will be backfilled; there will be no potential for drainage into the Tulsequah River. MR. CARMICHAEL showed a slide of what the mine site will look like when it is constructed, including the proposed mill site and the buildings associated with the mine. He told members it is entirely an underground mine, with a very small surface "footprint." He pointed out the access road heading up Shazah Creek to Atlin, as well as the tailings storage impoundment on Shazah Creek. MR. CARMICHAEL next showed a shot of the bench where the plant site is, then a picture of the Shazah Creek valley depicting the location of the tailings impoundment. He stated, "This is where I feel there's been a lot of misunderstanding about what we're trying to do up here." He mentioned the design for the tailings impoundment, indicating it is well-clear of any flooding danger from the Tulsequah River. MR. CARMICHAEL explained, "The design parameters that we used were the 1-in-200-year flood on Shazah Creek. The state of Alaska was interested in sort of worst-case scenarios, so, as Norm [Ringstad] mentioned, one thing they wanted us to investigate was what would happen if, say, we run into a volume of water that was double the 1-in-200-year flood event. It turns out that that corresponds to about a 1-in-10,000-year return event; it's an extremely unlikely event." Mr. Carmichael said in any case, the tailings impoundment would survive such a flood-related event, and the risk of the tailings stored in the impoundment being washed down the river is zero. MR. CARMICHAEL told members that, as Mr. Ringstad had touched upon, the material stored in the tailings impoundment would be mixed with limestone, and all of the pyrite would be removed and placed back underground; the material stored in there will have no potential for acid generation. That allows it to be reclaimed as a dry impoundment; they can "dewater" it at the end of the mine's life, then recontour it and revegetate it. He said it forms a very nice walk-a-way solution, with no potential for acid (indisc.) drainage out of the tailings pond, and no concerns about flood devastation or of the tailings entering the Taku River system. MR. CARMICHAEL noted that environmental measures include keeping the development in hanging-wall rocks, which is a little unusual for mining. He stated, "We've done that because we want to stay away from some of the rocks that do have acid-generating potential. Sulfides will be removed from the tailings. There'll be limestone added to them. We'll put as much of the waste rock as possible back underground. The reclamation involves sealing and flooding the mine workings, which have been backfilled, so there's no chance of drainage out of that." He pointed out the dry tailings storage, which he had described briefly earlier. MR. CARMICHAEL next showed a shot of the access road up to Atlin and then down to Skagway, Alaska, followed by a picture of a now-dormant storage facility in Skagway, to be used for storing and shipping their concentrate. He concluded by showing the loading facility at Skagway. Number 2739 CO-CHAIR OGAN asked what Alaska or the United States can do if the project goes ahead and somehow results in environmental damage to rivers that flow across the border, for example, or damage to Alaskan fisheries. He asked whether there is recourse under international law or through treaty agreements. MR. CARMICHAEL said that is outside his area of expertise. MR. RINGSTAD noted that it is also outside his area of expertise, then stated, "I don't have an answer specifically for that. With respect to the road and the mine itself, under our provincial legislation, there are bonds that are established ... to protect against any risk and liability that would be leveled to the provincial government." CO-CHAIR OGAN said he would like to have that answered at some point, before this resolution, if it moves from committee, is taken up on the House floor. Number 2824 AL CLOUGH, Local Chapter President, Alaska Miners Association, Incorporated, came forward, noting that executive director Steve Borell had provided written comments. Mr. Clough said that the long history of mining in the Tulsequah area bears consideration in this project. As Mr. Ringstad had highlighted, there are at least four examples of other trans-border mining projects that are on salmon streams; those have been successfully permitted and operated, and in some cases, those are being reclaimed. MR. CLOUGH stated, "Obviously, there are some heightened issues on this. From the Alaska Miners Association perspective, we are very much in favor of the tenets laid out in this joint concurrent resolution, which basically says, 'Let's get this thing back to the technical people, to the technical discussions that need to take place to make sure this project moves forward in a responsible manner.' And we would submit that perhaps the IJC issue has served its purpose in getting people more aware of the issue, getting more dialogue and more involvement by all concerned, and, as I say, it is time to move it back off that forum and get it moved ahead and resolved." CO-CHAIR OGAN announced that he would now take testimony from the public. Number 2910 ERROL CHAMPION, Cabin Owner and Member, Taku River Recreation Association, came forward, stating, "I appreciated you asking the key question that our association has on this whole matter, and we've circulated correspondence to you prior." He told members the association was formed several years ago to represent property owners and users of the Taku River valley, mainly on the Alaska side of the border. There are 130 lots on the City and Borough of Juneau tax rolls, with 70 cabins built over the past 60 years. Several members are second-generation users of the river, and one member is apparently a fifth-generation user. MR. CHAMPION stated: Since the last ice age, the Taku River is the main access route to the northern Interior. Tlingit Natives and others sailed up and down this river between Canoe Landing and tidewater; it's a distance of about 100 miles. Earlier this week, our association sent you communications outlining our views. We neither support nor oppose the reopening of the Tulsequah Chief Mine because it's a Canadian project, and it's the obligation of the B.C. government to review and regulated the proposed mine. MR. CHAMPION advised members that the association's main concern centers on the fact that Redfern Resources has failed to respond to repeated requests for Redfern's position on how they plan on protecting and maintaining water quality below the border. TAPE 99-20, SIDE B Number 2968 [Numbers run backwards because of recorder] MR. CHAMPION said they don't understand why Redfern Resources doesn't want to communicate with members of the association or with the state of Alaska. He told members: While it's the sole responsibility of the B.C. government to review and regulate this project, we do not want to see a repeat of the soil contamination situation that Alaskans faced in Skagway three years ago; that Canadian mine had no responsibility and was not accountable for the cleanup costs. Further, Premier Clark has not been a particularly good neighbor to Alaska and, because of previous encounters, we frankly don't think he cares about the Alaskan side of the Taku River. We would encourage the legislature to rewrite this resolution to contain language that demands a response from Redfern and the B.C. government on how they plan to protect and ensure downstream water quality during the life of the project. Alaskans deserve to have those questions answered. Number 2926 DOUGLAS DOBYNS, Environmental Planner, Douglas Indian Association, came forward. He stated: We have a joint project with EPA [Environmental Protection Agency] and USGS [United States Geological Survey] to conduct water quality monitoring on the Taku River for a five-year period. Our first sampling event was in October, which was reconnaissance. The second sampling event was in November, which is being analyzed at the Manchester Laboratory in Washington State. This is to parts per billion; it's been collected under the protocols of USGS and EPA. And we have a quality assurance project plan that's been accepted by U.S. EPS as being a valid laboratory and field sampling guide. We feel that it's very necessary that someone baseline the environmental conditions that are in the river at this time. In our review of the Redfern data, one thing that was glaring to us was that the samples were single-sample events that were repeated, but there was no regular sampling that would actually baseline the conditions in the river. And so, we put this project as a proposal to USGS, and entered with the director in the state of Alaska on a joint project to conduct this. At the end of five years, there'll be a report published by USGS that will be [an] official interpretive report published in the USGS database. And I think that that's something that you should be aware of, that it's necessary for us to establish the scientific credibility, because there's a lot of discussion without really having reference to a regular data base. MR. DOBYNS, noting that he himself is a "technical person," deferred to a council member from the Douglas Indian Association, Michael Dunlap, who is on the environmental committee and is the past president of the council, to further address the issues. Number 2794 MICHAEL DUNLAP, Council Member, Douglas Indian Association, came forward, giving his Tlingit name of Kah Du Shan; he specified that he is Xix Chi Hit [Frog House] Gaanax Adi from the Taaku Kwaan on the Alaska side of the border, and that he is an IRA [Indian Reorganization Act] tribal council member of the Douglas Indian Association, a tribal government in the Juneau area. He read into the record his concerns about HCR 4: The crux of the question is captured in the last "WHEREAS" clause, which reads, "WHEREAS the government of British Columbia has made assurances that the development of the Tulsequah Chief Mine will result in no transboundary impacts". This is the very question that is being challenged by Alaska's Governor, Tony Knowles, and by the Douglas Indian Association. The truth is that we do not trust ... British Columbia enough to let them proceed without more assurances than they have offered. If there could be a binding contract, assurances that would require compensation in the event of a transboundary impact, such as using a posted bond that would be put up by the mine ahead of time, we would be more impressed. It is not an arbitrary position to question the assurances of British Columbia in this matter. There are indications that [B.C. Premier] Glen Clark's credibility is in question on a number of counts at this time in general, and the track record for the environmental control over mine pollution in B.C. is not good, in particular. There is the issue of the judicial review of the B.C. mining certificate that has been filed by the Taku River Tlingits. The First Nation is concerned enough to take expensive legal action to defend their homeland. We are told to expect the review to be heard within the next few weeks. It did not seem prudent for the legislature of the state of Alaska to be making a claim that all of the concerns have been met over this issue. In fact, it may be that ... the intervention of the IJC is the only way to (indisc.--coughing) the jurisdictional question and the outstanding environmental concerns that have been expressed by the many interest groups, in addition to the Douglas Indian Association and the Taku River Tlingits. The Douglas Indian Association has begun a water testing program on the Taku River, together with USGS and the EPA. The second sampling will be taken in the next two weeks and shipped to the EPA Manchester Lab in Washington State. This is a five-year project that will document the baseline water quality at the USGS gauge, just downstream of the B.C. and Alaska border. The database will document the water quality from November 1998 to October 2002, according to official protocols of USGS and the EPA. We suggest that this work will tell us whether there are transboundary impacts or not, so that we will not have to take the word of British Columbia or Redfern mine company. We ask that the Alaska State Legislature support this activity, rather than assuming that there will be no transboundary impacts. Ask, instead, that the contractual assurance is established, ... that will pay for any damages to the valuable fisheries and the other natural resources that the Alaskans depend upon from the Taku River. If the legislature is not ... prepared to take this action, we ask, at the very least, the proposed resolution being considered here not be passed. Number 2603 CO-CHAIR OGAN asked Mr. Dunlap to briefly cite what he was referring to when he said B.C.'s track record is not good with water quality. MR. DOBYNS returned to the witness table. He stated: I've personally done review of two mines in British Columbia. One is the Western Mines that feeds into Buttle Lake on Vancouver Island. This was done under doctor Allen Austin at the University of Victoria, who just recently retired ... and has filed all of this papers with the library at the University of Victoria. We found extensive problems with tumors in fish, elevated heavy metals; it resulted in a major amount of questions on this, since it was the drinking water source for the city of Campbell River. This issue has been going for approximately 30 years, and it's been in and out of numerous discussions. The mine is in a provincial park of British Columbia, I should add .... CO-CHAIR OGAN asked whether that mine was permitted under the same process as this one. MR. DOBYNS replied: No, it was permitted under an earlier process. However, since it was brought up numerous times by concerned citizens for redress by British Columbia, and they failed to get very good satisfaction, I think it's pertinent. The second is [Island Mines] that feeds into Quatsino Sound. And that's been used - cited - as a stellar example of dealing with tailings disposal in the marine environment; and I can tell you that that was not the case. There's problems with crabs migrating, juvenile salmonids, and I participated with some First Nations people in monitoring that on northern Vancouver Island. So, from my experience, I would say, as a professional opinion, that there is not a good track record ... in this regard. CO-CHAIR OGAN asked what Mr. Dobyns' educational background is. MR. DOBYNS answered, "I'm a Master's of Environmental Science." Number 2435 ELDON DENNIS, Fisherman, came forward. A Juneau resident for 32 years, he has been involved in commercial fisheries for 28 years. Mr. Dennis said he fully supports the Governor's efforts to ensure the safety of the Taku River fisheries, and he emphasized the importance of these fisheries. MR. DENNIS referred to his first encounter at a meeting with Redfern Resources representatives and said, "They proposed a barging system at that time, and when meeting and discussing with them, they were totally unaware that the barge schedule they were planning to run would interfere with gillnets all across Taku Inlet; they didn't have an idea that a fishery was even operating at that time of the year, which is the summer." MR. DENNIS stated that based on experience with the Canadian government, dealing with the transboundary treaty negotiations, he doesn't believe a word they say. Furthermore, he finds it incredible that Alaska legislators are purporting to serve the interests of Canadian mining companies, rather than looking after the interests of Alaskan citizens involved in the commercial fisheries. Number 2335 CARL PETERSON, Fisherman, came forward, specifying that he owns and operates a 42-foot gillnet and longline vessel on which he catches and processes salmon, halibut, shrimp and other species. He told members he was speaking against HCR 4. Mr. Peterson stated: The reason I am against this resolution is that I don't believe there has been enough information on this project regarding safeguards for critical salmon spawning and rearing habitat. I also have major concerns about possible leaching of acid from this mine into the Taku River watershed. This river system now supports a world-class run of king salmon, as well as a large run of sockeye and coho salmon; pinks and chums use this river system, along with numerous freshwater species of fish, and large numbers of waterfowl and other wildlife. I would like to make it clear that I am not against mining or other resource development. I just believe that these projects should not have an impact on existing industries and recreational users. I do support the efforts of Governor Knowles to bring the highest level of protection to this pristine watershed. CO-CHAIR OGAN referred to HCR 4, page 2, line 20, where it states, "BE IT RESOLVED that the Alaska State Legislature recommends continuing the cooperative effort between the two governments toward to environmentally responsible development of the Tulsequah Chief Mine". He asked whether that language is offensive to Mr. Dennis. MR. DENNIS said no, he has no problem with the legislature's working towards that goal. However, he believes it should go to the IJC, and he backs Governor Knowles' efforts to do that. Number 2232 REPRESENTATIVE HARRIS asked, "What do you think that this international commission can do that our environmental agencies in the state can't do?" MR. DENNIS replied that he is not an expert on this. However, if there were to be a problem with leaching of acid, for example, there would be no recourse for commercial fishermen; all of a sudden, the fish wouldn't show up and the fishermen would be out of business. He pointed out that in Prince William Sound, where the Exxon Valdez oil spill occurred, they had said there was no effect on the herring fisheries, yet ten years after the spill, there is still oil in the water, and people up there haven't even been paid for that disaster. He would like to have some recourse, through the legislature or the Governor's office, for example, that says if something does happen, the fishermen can be compensated. Testimony that day indicates there is little recourse with the British Columbia government, yet any effluent coming out of that mine will go downstream, "straight to us." Number 2150 KATHY WELTZIN came forward next. She pointed out that the project includes a 150-kilometer road going through the watershed, with more than 50 stream crossings. She emphasized the need to focus on the whole watershed, not just the mine itself. Number 2081 MR. CARMICHAEL said the road will be permitted under the B.C. Ministry of Energy and Mines, as a private industrial road. It will have a manned gate, and access will be allowed only to people on mine business. Number 2066 JIM BECKER, President, Juneau Chapter, United Southeast Alaska Gillnetters (USAG), came forward on behalf of USAG, an organization of men and women who make their living commercial fishing in Southeast Alaska. He noted that USAG has chapters in Puget Sound, Ketchikan, Wrangell, Petersburg, Juneau and Haines. He stated: We are here today to encourage you to support the Administration's efforts to have the issue of the Tulsequah Chief Mine resolved by the International Joint Commission. To date, the process has been totally inadequate in addressing the impact of the mine on Alaskan Taku gillnet, sports and subsistence fisheries. The extent of our involvement was one public hearing at the Baranof Hotel in the fall of 1997. At that hearing, Redfern presented a full and complete overview of the proposed mine. However, many questions from the audience raised serious doubts as to the thoroughness of Redfern's application, and it also raised concerns about ... additional potential development, using the road built for Tulsequah Mine. At the conclusion of that public hearing, we accepted Redfern's offer to get on their mailing list and continue the dialogue with them on unresolved issues concerning potential impact on our fishery. To date, we have received nothing from Redfern. It seems that we were afforded the opportunity of commenting on the mine at the end of their public permitting process, because in March of 1998, Redfern was issued a permit. Our organization has a responsibility to work diligently to protect our fishing industry and ensure the long-term survivability of our fishing industry. We have an internal board resolution which guides our efforts in matters of economic development, water quality and habitat issues. The final part of our resolution says we strive to make it clear we are not opposed to economic development. ... Expansion or development of new industries can be good for everyone, as long as development doesn't come at the expense of an existing industry. USAG has a long and successful working relationship with other mine applicants, most notably, Coeur Alaska. We were the first fishing organization to publicly support their Kensington Mine, and even after Coeur Alaska had to make a basic change to their tailing discharge, we continued to have a healthy dialogue with them. From our perspective, the process of permitting this mine didn't adequately consider the impact on the healthy, viable Alaska fishery. [We are] the one industry just down the stream, and we weren't even brought into this discussion till the very end. We base our concerns about the mine operation on information submitted by the Department of Fish and Game, habitat and restoration division. They say, in an October 30, 1997, memorandum, and in subsequent memorandums, the following: Their concerns are of downstream interested parties. Tulsequah Mine and related activity has a potential to substantially affect the water quality and fisheries of the Taku River watershed. In comment about ... Flannigan Slough, the department said, "We are particularly concerned about the short- and long-term impact to this area." The department has concerns about the tailing storage ponds and water treatment plan, as well. The department concludes [that] in the event of a landslide, avalanche or earthquakes, tailing impoundment seepage would increase substantially. They also raise the question of how the cyanide would be shipped. In regard to the access road, the department raises questions about sediment, siltation and fish passages. Also, the department questions secondary impact from additional development ... of the newly established access road. These are our concerns, as well. And if the mine were in Alaska, all these and other related issues would be completely hammered out in the public process. The only avenue left to protect the Alaska interest is the International Joint Commission. We appreciate and support Governor Knowles' insistence that this matter be resolved there. Number 1825 REPRESENTATIVE JOULE asked, "You said that the operator of the mine offered to keep you informed, and you got on their mailing list and then heard nothing?" MR. BECKER affirmed that. CO-CHAIR OGAN asked Mr. Carmichael of Redfern Resources Limited to jot down some of the questions and problems; Co-Chair Ogan stated his intention of providing time at the end of the hearing for a response. He expressed hope that this process can foster some better communications. Number 1769 AARON BRAKEL, Juneau resident, came forward next. He told members that he supports the Governor's position on this. He believes it needs to go to the IJC, which would give Alaska a seat at the table. In contrast, HCR 4 says, "Let's not even sit at the table." MR. BRAKEL pointed out that the Tongass Land Management Plan says that the largest impact on fish habitat from logging in Southeast Alaska is from the road building. He expressed extreme concern about the road building on this project, noting that there are many problems with the route, including that it is steep and will have impacts on fish downstream. MR. BRAKEL referred to mention that the road will be closed to the public. He emphasized that a person flying south can view all the devastation and clearcuts in British Columbia, which run for miles along the streams and right up the sides of mountains into avalanche zones. He concluded, "They're not going to stop that from happening in Canada. ... Their record on fish habitat protection is terrible. So, I hope that you support the Governor's position and go to the International Joint Commission on this, so that we - Alaska - can have a seat at the table." Number 1623 JAY CRONDAHL came forward, concisely stating, "No. Vote no on the resolution." Number 1582 BRAD PIERCE, Taku River Cabin Owner, came forward next. He told members that he has nothing against Canadians or Canadian companies. However, he wonders why the legislature would want to promote the interests of a Canadian company over the interests of Alaskan voters who have cabins up the river or who earn their livelihoods in Taku Inlet. He supports what the Governor is doing by making sure that this developer meets international standards. In response to Co-Chair Ogan's question about whether he works for the Administration, Mr. Pierce specified that he was speaking on his own behalf, although he works for the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). CO-CHAIR OGAN called upon Joe Geldhof, but there was no response. Number 1462 LAURIE FERGUSON CRAIG, Issues Coordinator, Alaskans for Juneau, came forward, noting that she had provided written comments that say that Alaskans for Juneau supports IJC consideration and referral for this project, and that they do not support HCR 4. She stated: There are a couple of things that have come up that may be relevant, that are not in our comments - number one, the process between how Canada decides these projects and how the U.S. and Alaska decide them. There was a similar approach taken to the A-J Mine here in Juneau, called phasing. And our citizens' group, and another citizens' group, appealed the city's decision of going ahead in segments and not knowing exactly what would happen before permits were granted. They chose to make those decisions before the answers were in. We took that all the way to the supreme court and ended up with a fine precedent that says that is not to be done; and I would be happy to provide you with a copy of that court ruling, so that you can consider that as you take your vote, and how your vote would be influenced by standing supreme court decision making. The second point, very briefly, is about the IJC. I have been following an issue that they are working on right at this time. They are primarily an organization that was designed to resolve problems with the Great Lakes. They are currently in some hearings right now between Canada and the U.S., and it provides a forum for both sides to present their approaches, in an equal and fair way. There are currently four hearings going on in the U.S. side - and citizens that are affected by this Great Lakes potential decision - and four hearings going on that have just concluded today, over the last two weeks, on the Canadian side. And I think that's the fair kind of approach that we see here with the legislature - that you want to hear what everybody has to say. And so, I would suggest that - along with some of my fellow people - I recommend that you not pass this resolution at this time, and consider continuing to support the Governor in his assessment that this should have IJC approval. Number 1300 RICH DAVIS, Seafood Producers Cooperative (SPC), came forward next, informing members that he is a 36-year resident of Juneau; for the last 30 years, he has been a commercial fisherman. He, his wife and their three children are totally dependent on Alaska's commercial fisheries resources. He has fished both commercially and recreationally for salmon from the Taku River since he was ten years old. He serves the 400-member SPC as their representative to the United Fishermen of Alaska. Mr. Davis stated: We harvest Taku River salmon in both gillnet and troll fisheries in Southeast. Mining issues, as they relate to mineral extractions, and fisheries issues, as they relate to water quality, are not new to us. The Tulsequah Chief Mine project does not answer the questions or assuage the concerns of Alaska's resource agencies at this point. Our state's resource agencies have our interests and concerns in mind. A few corporate executives and government diplomats from Canada can show up here and change a few minds - how convenient for them. The Canadians are not your constituents. If they're going to mine upstream, with adequate safeguards for the water quality necessary to sustain salmon habit, then let's make them prove it with thorough science, good planning, and satisfy the state's concerns that our resource agencies have. Put yourself in the fishermen's shoes. Our neighboring government has degraded its waterways, exploited its salmon resources, to the point where their commercial salmon fisheries in British Columbia are no longer sustainable. Rather than face the reality of their own irresponsibility, they - for years - have labeled Alaska's fisheries as the culprit. Their government is not my government. I don't trust them, and they don't elect you. We oppose the resolution and will support the Governor's effort to resolve the differences we have through the International Joint Commission, until the mine's proponents convince Alaska's resource agencies that water quality and fish habitat concerns of the users of the Taku River drainage are addressed. CO-CHAIR OGAN asked Mr. Davis what steps Redfern Resources and the Canadian government could take that would make him comfortable. MR. DAVIS replied that if they could convince the Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADF&G) and the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) that the efforts that they are going to undertake would ensure the safeguards of the spawning habitat, the rearing habitat, the critical fisheries habitat, and the resources that inhabit that river, he would be much more comfortable. "But our state agencies, at this point, have not been convinced that our concerns are addressed," he concluded. CO-CHAIR OGAN asked Deputy Commissioner Bosworth whether the state has changed its position. Number 1094 ROBERT BOSWORTH, Deputy Commissioner, Alaska Department of Fish and Game, answered, "We have not changed our basic position." Number 1084 TIM BRISTOL, Southeast Alaska Conservation Council, came forward. He stated: Just for the record, we are adamantly opposed to this resolution. We think that the International Joint Commission actually would give the state of Alaska more control over development of this mine. I grew up on the Great Lakes, and there were a lot of IJC issues that came up; and usually it was the Canadians, very concerned about something that was going on, on the American side of the border, and they would go to the IJC to make sure that they had fair representation, being a smaller country and having a lot less people on their side of the border. And I just kind of see it as turnabout, and ... I think it's fair play. And I would also encourage the legislature to look at the concerns that the commercial fishermen are bringing up here. They probably have the most intimate relationship with Canadians when it comes to treaty negotiations and dealing with allocation of resources, particularly salmon, and I think that we should defer to them on this issue. Number 1002 DON WEIR, President, Taku Wilderness Association, came forward, noting that he is from Atlin, B.C. He handed out a copy of written testimony, attached to a document titled, "Lessons from the Environmental Assessment process of the South Kemess Copper/Gold Mining Project," which he said details problems with the B.C. Environmental Assessment Act and why it should be of concern to Alaskans. Mr. Weir stated: There are two key questions here which I really think that people should be thinking about more seriously, and ... it's a broader question than Redfern. Our concern with this whole project, in addition to the problems with the Redfern mine, are the long-term impacts, looking at the watershed over a 10- or 20-year period. Our main concern here - and a lot of it was from talking to people in the B.C. government - is that there is an agenda here to have a road going from Atlin to Telegraph Creek, setting up, basically, an industrial corridor in there for logging and for mining. We knew that if the Redfern project did go ahead - it was given a project approval certificate - that interest would be aroused; and that is exactly what happened. The Muddy Lake -- or the Explorer Gold moved into and was doing exploration work on the main-stem Taku. People who were rafting down the river sat down with those people, talked to them, asked them what their long-term mine plan was; and they said they didn't really feel they needed the Tulsequah Chief road, that they wanted to punch a road from the mine site, on the main stem, connecting with the Muddy Lake road. A month later, I came to Juneau, was talking to an Alaska state fisheries official, and when I showed him where they were talking about punching a road, he said that is the heart of the Taku with regard to the fishery. We know that that is what the government would like to do, to pull in tax revenue, and that is what our concern is here. The Redfern -- the work they have done is decent work, but the long-term impact on the watershed is what people should be thinking about .... We would hope the IJC, if it did happen, would address that. The other question, which I think all stakeholders should have a major concern with, is whether the monitoring and the regulatory processes in B.C. will adequately address issues if the mine does go ahead; and that is what I address in here [the handout]. There is a long litany of pollution abatement orders, violations to fisheries Acts, one thing after another; I have six pages of them here, just on two mines - one, the Huckleberry Mine, and the Kemess Mine in the interior of B.C. And I think that should be a concern if the mine does go ahead. I'll read just a brief snippet here: From the point of view of other stakeholders, the ... key question should be whether the assessment of this process properly addressed the short- and long-term impacts of this project. Another question is whether the mitigation measures created by the provincial government, to cover up flaws in Redfern's project report, will adequately deal with the long-term impacts. The best way to make this determination is to look at British Columbia's track record on other mining projects. The record does not provide much assurance. We have been told by numerous government officials that, due to severe budgetary cutbacks, it will be difficult, if not impossible, to properly investigate and remedy the inevitable problems that will come. It's your call whether you want to go to an IJC or not, or even if the IJC would address the issues. But there are some serious problems here. Taku River Tlingit have filed a court challenge against the project certificate, and the key part of that case is that there were clear violations of the environmental assessment, and violations were made on political grounds because the government wanted this project; and there's a history of these things happening. And the impact will not be on us in Atlin, except socioeconomic (indisc.). The impact will be on you downriver, if the watershed is opened up. And I hope you will just take a serious look and perhaps delay a decision on this resolution until the outcome of the court case in the summer, because we think it will indicate that there were some really serious and blatant violations. And it should be of concern to you. CO-CHAIR OGAN asked if Atlin is at the headwaters of the Taku River. MR. WEIR answered that Atlin is north of the Taku watershed, on Atlin Lake, about 90 kilometers - 60 miles - south of the Yukon Territory border. Number 0609 JOAN JACK, Nakina Center for Aboriginal Learning and Living (C.A.L.L.), came forward. From Atlin, B.C., she informed members that Nakina C.A.L.L. is a nonprofit organization formed by Tlingit people within the Canadian portion of the Taku watershed. She stated: It's difficult to know what to say in a situation like this. I don't pretend to understand your politics, or - as one of the men has alluded - what good would an IJC do, anyway? ... I don't know. All I know is that somebody very powerful within your country thinks that he needs to do that. And we have very serious concerns about what's been going on within the province of British Columbia. ... [To Representative Joule] You had some concerns about the First Nations issues. And I personally believe that the resolution, as presented, is misleading. ... The "WHEREASes" within the resolution imply that everything has gone well within the environmental assessment legislative process of the province. If it had gone well, the First Nation people affected by this issue would not be in court. We did participate, as Mr. Ringstad indicated. He said that in a way to kind of get you to believe - or he made me feel that way, anyway - to get you to believe that everything was okay. We participated right through. We did our best, under-resourced, and gone $170,000 in debt, I might add, to participate. We participated, and the Taku River Tlingit First Nation filed a formal dissent to the ... project review committee's decision to approve that project certificate. And that dissent is available; I can submit that at a later time to you, for your consideration. We did our own review of the project. ... The man who introduced this resolution seemed to be implying - maybe I'm paranoid today - but he seemed to be implying that the First Nations issues had to do with larger issues. Well, I felt like saying, "Well, you're darn right they do!" But that aside, we have raised concerns based on Western science, ... on your way of doing things. We have hired technicians, and we have raised those concerns that the work that's been done on this project doesn't even meet the standards of sound science. They're proposing grizzly bear monitoring, to be done as we go. I live in the valley with my husband. I live with the grizzly bears. I don't know one grizzly bear that's going to be around once you start bulldozing down trees. So, the baseline data for these protection mechanisms is not going to be there. Any self-respecting moose or grizzly is going to be long-gone because of the noise. ... They will acclimatize to the intervention, over maybe a 20-year period; they get used to it, it's easy-access travel, whatever. But the baseline data is not there. The province hasn't done the work. ... I'm also a nonpracticing lawyer, called to the bar in Manitoba, so I do have a legal background. ... [I] wouldn't be able to give any legal opinions here, but I do understand this situation both traditionally, culturally and in terms of the White law, to a certain degree. And I'd be happy to take some questions, if there were any. Number 0297 REPRESENTATIVE JOULE pointed out that he serves in the Minority party, where they try to make the best difference that they can, as legislation moves along. He said he was wondering if that was the case in terms of the involvement of the First Nations people in this issue. MS. JACK said she'd found it interesting that day that several Alaskans pointed out that HCR 4 in a way supports a Canadian company and a Canadian government. She stated, "No matter what you want to say about the province's track record, ... we're in court with them, so we're not very happy." She said she honestly doesn't understand the benefit of going to the IJC, except that it is an international regulatory body that would ensure, for all parties involved, that things were done to the best of everyone's abilities. "And I don't feel, as one person who lives in that place - I live there - that the provincial government is meeting our needs or protecting anything," she concluded. TAPE 99-21, SIDE A Number 0001 BRYAN JACK, Taku River Tlingit from Atlin, British Columbia, came forward next, expressing full support for IJC review of the road. He told members he has a hard time when government officials come into communities and disrupt the structure put in place by the people. The road itself is not a "Redfern issue" but is clearly a government issue, as the government wants this road to go through. MR. JACK stated: "Now, this road goes right through the heart of our traditional territory. We have a treaty in place that has never been acknowledged. The assessment has never acknowledged us. The only time we were ever, ever, ever acknowledged was when it was beneficial to Redfern issues. I have a hard time with it because I've sat down with government officials and talked with them. I've sat down with Redfern a number of times to talk with them. I've sat down with Norm Ringstad. I've sat down with the president." MR. JACK emphasized that the whole area is a migratory area. He lives on the land, walks the land, and knows the animals there. There is a place with canyons on each side, for example, where the proposed road goes through but which is a potential area for migratory animals. In addition, from Kuthai Lake to the Taku River, about 50 miles, it is a downgrade. Any spill would go down to the river, where the salmon, bears and moose are. Furthermore, the area has a potential for slides, all the way down. "I know it," he said. "I walk that area. My trail goes right on the side, where the road goes. It touches a migratory trail all the way down." MR. JACK restated support for an IJC review, in order to "filter it in any way possible." He added, "I don't think that I have any support from the government, and I'm saying that as an individual, as a Taku River Tlingit that is sitting at a treaty table, that is not acknowledged." Number 0380 MS. JACK informed Co-Chair Ogan, who was about to take testimony via teleconference, that they had also brought an elder with them, Mr. William Campbell. Number 0475 ROGER BURGGRAF testified via teleconference from Fairbanks in support of HCR 4. A Fairbanks resident, he told members he has lived and worked in Southeast Alaska, both in the mining industry and in "fish and wildlife." He cannot support the Governor's position on the mine, and he believes that the Governor has been misinformed by environmental groups and other special groups with regard to the mine and the permitting process. He also believes that with the present permitting tools that are in place, and with cooperation between Canada and the United States, this mine can be developed in an environmentally sound manner. MR. BURGGRAF stated, "I feel that there's been a lot of fear tactics that have been used here today. I do understand the concerns, but I've seen many mines - recent mines that have been developed - that ... have been done ... in an environmentally sound manner, and I feel that this can be done, and that we're sending some bad messages in trying to stop this from occurring. We do not need to go to the International Joint Commission under the Boundary Waters Treaty, and I feel it can be handled adequately between Alaska and Canada." Number 0656 MARY NORDALE testified via teleconference from Fairbanks in support of HCR 4. She said it appears from the language of HCR 4 that the IJC would have nothing to decide, and that there are no transboundary impacts; if the assurances of the B.C. government are correct, then Alaska and the U.S. would have no interest in the project. She stated: I think that the people who speak in favor of the International Joint Commission believe that its jurisdiction is far wider than it truly is, but it really is just a commission to reconcile differences between the two nations. The Tulsequah Chief project is important for a couple of reasons. One, of course, is that it is a mine, and historic, and capable of sound - environmentally sound - development. The other is that it's very important to keep the Taku River open as a transboundary water upon which commerce can take place, even if the commerce is something where the (indisc.--poor sound quality). But there are a lot of people who live or have summer homes along the Taku, and if we turn down the ... Tulsequah Chief, we will be adding one more brick in the wall that will prevent people from accessing the Taku River for fishing, for sport, for recreation, for whatever. And I would urge that the House pass the resolution as quickly as possible. Number 0837 WILLIAM CAMPBELL, Taku River Tlingit from Atlin, B.C., came forward to testify, noting that he was raised by his grandparents in Juneau. He said he doesn't want the road to come in. Emphasizing the impact on game, he cited the Dempster Highway as an example; since that road went in near the Peel River, the game left the area, whereas before that there were sometimes 5,000 or 10,000 caribou at a time. Mr. Campbell figures that the proposed road will affect his area similarly. Furthermore, he doesn't want the mine to be opened because it will ruin all the fishing spots. Number 1095 CLAY FRICK from Port Alexander came forward next to speak on behalf of his wife, Anissa Berry-Frick, and himself. He said some legislators are wantonly putting Alaska and its resources at risk with HCR 4 and SCR 7. He asked: How can Alaskans know that the Tulsequah Chief Mine is an environmentally sound venture? He said that what Canada does not admit to will be self-evident when the Taku River fisheries are put at risk due to contamination from tailings deposits and the effects of road building. The health of the Taku River, which ends up in Alaska waters, could be compromised if this mine is opened. Mr. Frick stated: Because we share this important waterway, the largest unroaded protected watershed on the West Coast of North America, our fish and game, and wildlife and other federal agencies, need ... to be ... included in the review of the mine. Let's let the International Joint Commission be the venue of our resolution to our concerns. It is the only way we can mitigate future problems with our neighbors upstream. Why do our [legislators] feel it is so important to go out of their way to pressure the Governor's stance on this issue? Do we Alaskans really feel so much compassion for Canada's natural resource depletion, when it cannot even [manage] its own fisheries and blames Alaska for its fisheries problems? I'm sorry, but ... we ... are not ready to roll out the red carpet for the Canadian mine upriver. MR. FRICK closed by saying he is almost embarrassed that Alaska is addressing this issue, especially after hearing about the Native issues in Canada right now. Furthermore, in light of the blockade of the Alaska Marine Highway System ferry, as well as Premier Clark's administration at that time, this sticking up for Premier Clark in terms of pushing the mine he also finds rather embarrassing. Number 1259 JOEL BENNETT came forward to testify on his own behalf as a 30-year Juneau resident who has been an active sport fisherman for that long. He pointed out that silver and king salmon from the Taku River are target species for sport fishing anglers in Juneau, who contribute quite a bit of money - which he estimates at more than $2 million per year - to the Juneau economy. He has had personal experience with the Taku River, an area of immense value as far as the salmon resources. Mr. Bennett stated: I support Governor Knowles' position to recognize the outstanding worth and contribution of these resources, and the potential risk to them from improper resource development. This would include roading in sensitive areas, storage of mine byproducts in riparian areas, and problems relating to mixing zones. The key part of the Governor's position is further IJC review. Parenthetically, I would note that ... Governor Knowles has been a friend in general to mining; the Red Dog and Greens Creek Mines are two examples. Accordingly, the highest standard of permitting, I believe, should apply to this project, at least as rigorous as our own in Alaska, with all aspects of the project being reviewed before final go-ahead is authorized. Since this does not appear to be the case for the B.C. permit process, I would urge that Alaska support the International Joint Commission review of the mine project and its impact on the Taku River watershed. Without provision for this review, I would oppose HCR  at this time. Number 1439 PHILLIP GRAY came forward on his own behalf. Formerly employed by the ADF&G for more than 20 years, he worked in coho salmon research for about 18 years. Mr. Gray stated that he is opposed to HCR 4 and favors Governor Knowles' proposal regarding IJC review to protect the habitat for coho salmon, as well as other species, to the maximum degree possible. The Taku River is one of the major producers of coho salmon in Southeast Alaska, and the area of the mine is apparently particularly susceptible to damage. MR. GRAY reminded members that the Columbia River, "the greatest salmon river on earth," only has 3 percent of its salmon runs left, having lost 97 percent in spite of fish hatcheries. "We don't want that to happen in Alaska," he cautioned. He told members that he has talked to a lot of the biologists from the Lower 48, especially from Oregon and Washington, who have warned of the need to be particularly careful of our coho salmon habitat up here, because once it is lost, it is too expensive to replace it. Mr. Gray concluded, "So, you want to protect your habitat to the maximum degree possible and prevent the damage from occurring. We can have the mine, I think, but I think this International Joint Commission is the best way to go to protect the fish." Number 1559 NEIL MacKINNON came forward, specifying that he is a Juneau resident. He stated: Five generations of my family have used the Taku River for hunting, fishing and access ... to the early gold fields of Fortymile, Circle City and Atlin; and I might add that my great-grandfather was one of the discoverers ... of Atlin. My family has had a cabin on the banks of the Taku for over 40 years. I am not concerned by the mine. I am not concerned by the road. I am very concerned by the new attention ... the environmental industry has taken in the Taku River. Saving the Taku is the new cause the "enviro-elite" can use to justify their existence and funding. This is no pristine area, as the environmentalists are trying to portray. I can remember as a youth the operating mine that Redfern is attempting to open. This mine and road will not harm the Taku, its wildlife, its fish or our lifestyle on the river. What will harm the Taku is the environmental lobby and its tactics they will use to save us. The coordinated campaign strategy to save the Taku River - and ... if you have not seen a copy of that, I can provide one to you - is quite clear about the aims of the environmental groups, that is, and I quote, "To stop the immediate threats to this area and to establish a plan for the longer-term protection of its environmental values and the people in the region." The campaign's further goal and objective is, "To stop the mine in such a way that it ensures a developmental moratorium on the Taku watershed." They do not want a better project. They want to kill it. They do not want to save the Taku. They want to lock it up. They are using the Taku as the next cause to entice funds from large foundations and perpetual their existence. I agree with the "enviro-elitist" that the Taku is unique, and its uniqueness deserves to be preserved. But contrary to the environmental view, its uniqueness is because the Taku is the last river on the border between Alaska and Canada not encumbered by a park, wilderness, or wild and scenic river, or other restrictive designation. The freedom to use and access the last unencumbered trans-border river must be preserved. I applaud the legislature for taking the initiative to keep the Taku (indisc.--papers shuffling). Number 1731 WAYNE WEIHING, Tongass Conservation Society, testified via teleconference from Ketchikan in support of the Governor's position on IJC review. He referred to the Pacific Northwest fisheries and the currently listings of endangered species; he said he believes we can avoid some of those fisheries problems by protecting our habitat. However, the proposed mine cannot ensure that fisheries habitat can be protected. There is concern in southern Southeast Alaska that if fisheries decrease as a whole because of habitat loss on the Taku River, it would put more pressure on southern Southeast Alaska fisheries. Mr. Weihing emphasized the need to refer this problem to the IJC, concluding that we don't want to damage something and then try to repair it later. Number 1802 MIKE SALLEE testified via teleconference from Ketchikan. Born in Ketchikan, he is a commercial fisherman and harvest diver who also operates a small sawmill. Although his commercial fishing doesn't involve salmon, he has an intense interest, he said. As a deck hand on a fish-packing boat traveling through the Inside Passage in the 1960s and early 1970s, he saw what the Canadians did to Vancouver Island, "when they logged the thing from the shoreline up to the tops of the mountains." Mr. Sallee told members he is not impressed with the Canadians' environmental practices. Although he is not advocating for environmental groups that receive funding from the East Coast, he is concerned about his own back yard. Mr. Sallee said he knows nothing about the IJC, but he does support anything that gets this issue looked at as much as possible. "I'm currently not real enthused with House [Concurrent] Resolution Number 4," he concluded. "It sounds like they're trying to side-step getting this thing thoroughly looked at." Number 1879 CO-CHAIR OGAN asked whether anyone else wished to testify, then closed public testimony. He invited Robert Bosworth, Deputy Commissioner of the ADF&G, to provide the Administration's position and answer questions. Number 1904 MR. BOSWORTH stated his understanding that John Katz was on the line, waiting to make a few comments after he himself spoke. He told members he would speaking to the biological and economic contexts for the project; noting that some of that had been addressed that day, he indicated he would edit his comments accordingly. Mr. Bosworth stated: We do have concerns about the Tulsequah Chief Mine, and those concerns are related to salmon and salmon habitat. The Taku is the largest salmon producer in the region; it produces up to two million salmon annually. This compares to many of the state's largest salmon spawning systems: the Copper River, the Susitna, the Yukon in some years. All these rivers produce ... at the approximate level of the Taku. Our concerns about the effects of mine development on the Taku River salmon habitat and salmon production are the same concerns we would have if a mine were proposed for any one of these other large salmon producers in Alaska. If this were the Copper River, you can be sure we'd be asking the same questions and seeking the same assurances about water quality, tailings disposal and road development. The economic value of the Taku River salmon resource to Alaskans is very large. For example, the commercial gillnet fishery ... for sockeyes alone is worth about $2.8 million to about 100 permit holders. You can add to that the value of the commercial troll harvest of cohos, about another million dollars. As I've mentioned, the Taku regularly produces the largest salmon run in the region. Sport fisheries take tremendous advantage of that. We estimate that in 1997 over 32,200 anglers participated in the Juneau sport fisheries, and they fished over 140,000 angler days. To cut this short, I'll just say that about 40 percent of that harvest came from the Taku - that's cohos and kings. ... Number 2022 The reason the state is particularly concerned about the Tulsequah Chief project has to do with its location. You've heard about ... the road ... and the issues related to the road; I won't reiterate that except to say, regardless of whether it's a private road ... and it has a specified lifetime or goes on into the future, the road will be used to transport toxic chemicals and ore concentrates alongside many miles of salmon habitat. You know that the site is adjacent to the largest salmon rearing area on the river - that's Flannigan Slough, and, again, it's on the largest salmon-producing river system in Southeast Alaska. ... The largest Taku stock of cohos spawns immediately below the project location. Siting a project of this type in the floodplain of a major salmon-producing river system presents special risks and challenges. We believe there is, quite simply, a risk of catastrophic loss of salmon production. We think it's reasonable to hold to very high standards any project proposed for such a location. We also think it's reasonable that critically important concerns be resolved prior to permitting, yet the Canadian process does not require this. Consistent with our perspective, we found baseline scientific studies, necessary to resolve key issues up front, to be inadequate or lacking. Number 2083 I want to reiterate that while we have numerous concerns regarding water quality, road building and tailings disposal, we do think these concerns are resolvable. Our Canadian technical counterparts have agreed our concerns are legitimate ones, and we're making progress with the Canadians. In our discussions with Canada, we have begun to agree on reasonable mine development standards, a major advance; and this has happened ... in the 11 months that Mr. Ringstad spoke of, an 11-month period, I might add, that we do not think would have been available to us had we not approached the possibility of the IJC referral. That did get the attention of the Canadians, and I think we've all benefited, including the Canadians, from that referral and from the discussions we've had since then. Number 2133 In summary, Alaska has an enormous economic interest in this watershed. We're proud of the fact that our salmon stocks are healthy, including the Taku River stocks, and we want to keep them that way. The bottom line is that when we look at the costs and the benefits of the Tulsequah Chief Mine, it appears that the risks are all on our side of the border, and the benefits are on the Canadian side. Having said that, we've never said "no" to a mine. At this point, we're working to get answers to serious questions, and we're asking to have a specified, meaningful role in the permit process. From my perspective, the IJC referral, as I indicated, has helped get us to the table by emphasizing to Canada how serious we are about the mine development issues. An IJC referral can help keep us at the table in that meaningful role. With that introduction, I'll pass off to John Katz to elaborate; I think he'll pay particular attention to these diplomatic issues. CO-CHAIR OGAN asked whether Mr. Katz was available; however, Mr. Katz was participating in the Senate Resources Committee hearing on the same subject (SCR 7) via teleconference. Number 2200 REPRESENTATIVE JOULE asked when Governor Knowles had petitioned to have this go to the IJC. MR. BOSWORTH said April 1998. Number 2215 CO-CHAIR OGAN asked what recourse the state has if the Canadians don't live up to their promises. For example, if a truck carrying a load of toxic materials went off the road into the creek, what recourse, under international law or otherwise, would the state have? MR. BOSWORTH replied, "We're not aware that we have any recourses." CO-CHAIR OGAN asked if that means there is no recourse. MR. BOSWORTH answered, "I'm not the expert on this topic, but I have asked that question, and that's the answer I received." He said he was discussing it earlier with Kerry Howard of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), which oversees the state coordination on this project. Number 2366 KERRY HOWARD, Project Review, Division of Governmental Coordination, Office of Management and Budget, Office of the Governor, joined Mr. Bosworth at the witness table, acknowledging that OMB is not a legal entity. She stated, "We do not know about whether we have any recourses. I notice that this is the same question that was posed to Mr. Ringstad earlier, and he did not know the answer. It's a question we would like an answer to, but we just do not have one at this time." CO-CHAIR OGAN said he would like an answer, perhaps from the Office of the Attorney General. He asked Mr. Bosworth how long it would be until the IJC would meet and make a determination. Number 2353 MR. BOSWORTH answered that this was the topic that John Katz was going to cover; he himself didn't have firsthand information. He asked whether Ms. Howard could answer. MS. HOWARD responded, "At this point, I just want to make it real clear, too, the IJC has not accepted the project for review. It takes a bi-national referral to do it, and Canada has not agreed at this point. If and when a project is accepted for review by the commission, it can take anywhere from three to five years - is what we've been advised - for the IJC to complete its review and findings." CO-CHAIR OGAN suggested the Canadians aren't going to agree. MS. HOWARD replied, "Yeah, I think that's what they would respond if asked the question." CO-CHAIR OGAN asked: If the Canadians don't agree, why are we here? Number 2430 MS. HOWARD said that is a good question, then reiterated an important point: "Even though the project has not been accepted by the IJC for review, as Mr. Bosworth indicated, we do feel that the Governor's request for one upped the ante on the entire review and did compel further government-to-government diplomatic relations that have taken place over the last 11 months, that, again, I think both sides would agree have been very fruitful in resolving and identifying remaining issues. So, even though there has not been an IJC referral or acceptance, just the notion that the Governor thought it was important enough to ask for one has given us a further seat at the table that otherwise we do not legally have." Number 2464 REPRESENTATIVE JOULE asked what happens if the Canadian government chooses not to get involved, and this doesn't go to the IJC. Can Redfern go ahead with the project? MS. HOWARD answered, "They are continuing with their B.C. process, as Mr. Ringstad indicated; a project certificate has been issued by the B.C. Environmental Assessment Office. At this point in time, the way the Canadian process works, is further review is applicant-driven; that is, as the applicant comes in the door with their various permit requests, the B.C. and Canadian federal government will continue to process those. The one permit that's come in the door thus far is for a special use permit for road construction, and that has been in review since this past fall. So, they are proceeding with their permitting process." Number 2519 REPRESENTATIVE HARRIS asked Mr. Bosworth what involvement the ADF&G and other state departments have had with the Canadian government on this; what questions have not been answered sufficiently that prompted the Governor to move in this direction; and what concerns the ADF&G has. Number 2550 MR. BOSWORTH replied that the ADF&G's concerns fall generally into the categories of road construction and maintenance; tailings disposal and ongoing maintenance; and general water quality considerations. He stated: It's fish and it's fish habit. We're concerned that the road be built and - most important, perhaps, or equally important - maintained to standards that provide for fish passage, and that avoid problems such as sedimentation or siltation. The speaker earlier was accurate in that the road does traverse many miles of pristine spawning habitat, certainly migratory corridors for salmon, as well as wildlife. So, ... there are many concerns, and they're the same concerns we have for road building in Alaska, and we would hope to apply the same standards. Fish passage is essential. And, you know, what does it mean to close a road? Does that mean that bridges are taken out and fish passage is assured? Does it mean that somehow the roadbeds are treated in such a way that you don't get sloughing and siltation of important spawning beds? These seem to us to be reasonable questions to ask, and those are the kinds of things that we are asking. And we are working with the Canadians to find answers. And I did mention that we seem to have good agreement at this point on standards - that's as we see it - so, step one in a rather lengthy process, perhaps, or at least in an ongoing process, which would then include gathering baseline data, analyzing that data, and then discussing how that data is used ... in permitting. Number 2638 MR. BOSWORTH said that with regard to tailings disposal, he would be reiterating points others had made. For example, how stable is the tailings disposal site? Are there other sites that might be more stable? What are the geologic and hydrologic effects on that tailings disposal site? What is the possibility of a flooding event causing a catastrophic failure? Or perhaps of greater concern, what about a chronic seepage that would have a different effect on fish than the acute toxicity studies that had been described? Water quality is a part of all of that, whether the problem is from sedimentation or from toxicity due to effluent runoff or seepage. MR. BOSWORTH pointed out one concern not mentioned, the concern that the standards for effluent dispersal in the river be adequate for not only high-water and mid-water events, but also for low-water events. Noting that the river system has been described as braided, he asked, "What about when the river channel shifts, and suddenly the mixing zone is effectively dewatered? First of all, is that a possibility? And if so, what is the likely effect of that?" Number 2714 REPRESENTATIVE HARRIS asked whether his understanding is correct that if the IJC were to accept this request, it would automatically delay the project for three years to perhaps five or more years. MS. HOWARD replied, "Factually, there's nothing about even the acceptance of a project for review that would compel B.C. to stop permitting. That would be a choice. If Canada does agree an IJC referral is appropriate, likely they would also agree that permitting can wait; but there's nothing that compels that, particularly since the IJC is federal-to-federal. It's done through our State Department and through the Canada Department of External Affairs, and so while Canadian External Affairs is likely consulting with the province - as the State Department is consulting with us - that is the choice the province would make." Number 2770 REPRESENTATIVE HARRIS asked whether any protections for Alaskans are in place between the two countries in the event of a catastrophe. MR. BOSWORTH offered to try to find an answer to that question. Number 2798 CO-CHAIR OGAN agreed he would like an answer to that. He announced that he would hold the resolution over, then thanked participants for their patience. [HCR 4 was held over.] ADJOURNMENT There being no further business before the committee, the House Resources Standing Committee meeting was adjourned at 3:32 p.m.