HB 242: "An Act relating to the protection of wild salmon, wildlife, water, and other resources in or near the Bristol Bay Fisheries Reserve and to large-scale mining in the headwaters of the Reserve."
00 HOUSE BILL NO. 242 01 "An Act relating to the protection of wild salmon, wildlife, water, and other resources in 02 or near the Bristol Bay Fisheries Reserve and to large-scale mining in the headwaters of 03 the Reserve." 04 BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF ALASKA: 05 * Section 1. The uncodified law of the State of Alaska is amended by adding a new section 06 to read: 07 LEGISLATIVE FINDINGS. The legislature finds that 08 (1) Bristol Bay is a truly unique place with significant value to Alaska; 09 (2) one-third of the income from commercial salmon fishing in the state is 10 produced from the unpolluted waters in the Bristol Bay area; 11 (3) the wild salmon of Bristol Bay and its watersheds 12 (A) have sustained the subsistence and cultural integrity of Alaska 13 Natives for thousands of years; 14 (B) support a vital and growing sport fishing industry that provides
01 important statewide economic benefits to the state; 02 (4) in 1972, the legislature determined it was in the best interest of the state to 03 provide heightened protection for the Bristol Bay area by designating an area within the 04 Bristol Bay area as the Bristol Bay Fisheries Reserve; and 05 (5) the Bristol Bay Fisheries Reserve and its wild salmon and other 06 extraordinary and unique resources are critical to Alaska's economic and social success and 07 require additional protection. 08 * Sec. 2. AS 38.05 is amended by adding a new section to read: 09 Sec. 38.05.142. Limitations on large-scale mining in the headwaters of 10 Bristol Bay. (a) An authorization, license, permit, or approval for a plan of operation 11 for a new large-scale metallic sulfide mining operation that may have a potential effect 12 on the water within or flowing into or over the Bristol Bay Fisheries Reserve 13 (AS 38.05.140(f)) or that may affect fish, wildlife, and other resources in or 14 immediately adjacent to the Bristol Bay Fisheries Reserve may not be issued before 15 the director completes the study required in (b)(1) and (c) of this section and meets the 16 other requirements in (b) of this section. 17 (b) The director may not approve or issue any authorization, license, or permit 18 or approve a plan of operation under (a) of this section before 19 (1) completing the baseline study required in (c) of this section; 20 (2) finding, based on the best available science and clear and 21 convincing evidence, that 22 (A) the protection standards in (d) of this section are met and 23 incorporated in the proposed authorization, license, permit, or approved plan of 24 operation; 25 (B) management and treatment of waste produced by the large- 26 scale metallic sulfide mine to prevent adverse effects on wild salmon or other 27 fish or wildlife will not be necessary after the final shipment of products from 28 the mining operation occurs; 29 (C) development and operation of the large-scale metallic 30 sulfide mine will not directly, indirectly, or cumulatively have an adverse 31 effect in the Bristol Bay Fisheries Reserve on
01 (i) wild salmon and other fish; 02 (ii) wildlife; 03 (iii) commercial, subsistence, or sport fishing; or 04 (iv) guiding and tourism activities; 05 (D) the planned operation of the large-scale metallic sulfide 06 mine will not degrade the quality of land and water resources; 07 (E) the land affected by the operation of the large-scale metallic 08 sulfide mine will be reclaimed; 09 (3) publishing findings and the decision to 10 (A) issue an authorization, license, permit, or approval for a 11 plan of operation not less than 180 days before an authorization, license, 12 permit, or approval for a plan of operation may be issued; or 13 (B) not issue an authorization, license, permit, or approval for a 14 plan of operation. 15 (c) A baseline study relating to the surface water and ground water, fish and 16 wildlife, and commercial uses in or adjacent to the Bristol Bay Fisheries Reserve that 17 could be affected by a proposed large-scale metallic sulfide mining operation must be 18 completed. The study must include data for not less than five years immediately 19 before the completion of the study, be based on the best available scientific 20 information, and include comprehensive analysis of 21 (1) hydrological conditions; 22 (2) water chemistry; 23 (3) geochemistry; 24 (4) genetic and stock distinctions for fish and wildlife; 25 (5) fish and wildlife habitat; 26 (6) water flows; 27 (7) seismic studies; 28 (8) socioeconomic use; and 29 (9) a detailed risk assessment of the likely economic damage to the 30 state and individuals as a result of harm to existing fisheries and other resources in the 31 Bristol Bay area that could reasonably result from mining activity and the storage of
01 mine tailings. 02 (d) The proposed authorization, permit, license, or approved plan of operation 03 for a large-scale metallic sulfide mine subject to recommendation and approval in (a) 04 of this section must include specific standards, terms, requirements, and other detailed 05 conditions to 06 (1) prevent any adverse effects to ground and surface water; 07 (2) ensure that aquatic life standards are met in perpetuity; and 08 (3) ensure that wild salmon, including embryonic, rearing, migrating, 09 reproducing, or overwintering life stages and their supporting food chains, and other 10 fish and wildlife will not be diminished or adversely affected. 11 (e) Data or information collected or generated by an applicant or prospective 12 applicant and related to an authorization, license, engineering plan, or permit related to 13 a new large-scale metallic sulfide mining operation subject to (a) of this section must 14 be provided to the director. The director shall make the data and other information 15 received under this subsection available for public review at least twice a year in a 16 manner that provides the public with an adequate opportunity for review and 17 evaluation. 18 (f) The approval by the director and the findings and decision published under 19 (b)(3) of this section 20 (1) must contain the concurrence and written findings of the 21 commissioner of fish and game and the commissioner of environmental conservation, 22 based on the requirements in (b)(2) of this section; and 23 (2) is the final administrative action for purposes of appeal to the 24 superior court under AS 44.62.560 and 44.62.570; a person with social or economic 25 interest in wild salmon or other resources in the Bristol Bay Fisheries Reserve has 26 standing to seek judicial review of the recommended approval. 27 (g) In this section, "large-scale metallic sulfide mine" means a mine or mining 28 operation that extracts metals, including gold and copper, from a sulfide-bearing rock 29 and that would affect 640 or more acres of land and includes necessary logistical and 30 support facilities required for any mine or mining operation, including roads, power 31 transmission lines, and storage facilities.
01 * Sec. 3. The uncodified law of the State of Alaska is amended by adding a new section to 02 read: 03 APPLICABILITY. AS 38.05.142, enacted by sec. 2 of this Act, applies to a large-scale 04 metallic sulfide mine that has not received all authorizations, licenses, permits, or approved 05 plans of operation before the effective date of this Act. The requirements enacted by sec. 2 of 06 this Act do not apply to any existing operating mines in the state, new mines that do not affect 07 the waters or resources within the Bristol Bay Fisheries Reserve, or placer mining operations 08 in the Bristol Bay area or any other area of Alaska.