Our transboundary rivers here in Alaska have a new advocate, the U.S. Department of State. After years of petitioning by SEACC, Alaska Native groups, conservation groups, and the Alaska delegation, the federal government has taken the first steps in protecting our clean water, salmon, and the communities that rely on them.
On December 28th Lieutenant Governor Byron Mallott, who is heading the Alaskan administration’s efforts to address the issues of transboundary mines, released a letter from the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Legislative Affairs. The letter acknowledges our concerns and promises to engage their counterparts at Global Affairs Canada on the issue. They have secured a commitment from Global Affairs Canada to ‘engage in a bilateral review of gaps and limitations in the cooperation frameworks between B.C. and U.S. states.’ The Department of State will lead this interagency review and plans to share their findings at the April 2018 International Joint Commission (IJC) meetings.Read more
Today SEACC, along with an Alaska Native Tribal Government and two other conservation groups, filed a lawsuit against the Bureau of Land Management (BLM). The suit challenges BLM’s failure to consider the cumulative impact of future mine development at Constantine Metals’ Palmer Project when reviewing exploration applications. The Palmer Project encompasses ongoing exploration activities in the Chilkat Watershed, directly upstream of Haines and Klukwan, AK.
An eagle on the Chilkat - Photo by: Josh MillerRead more
Last week, just before families gathered to give thanks for all we share, Senator Lisa Murkowski released her FY 2018 Interior/Environment, and Related Agencies Appropriations bill (or ‘Interior Appropriations’ bill for "short"). The proposed spending bill takes aim at one of the things that Southeast Alaskans are most thankful for -- the Tongass National Forest. Senator Murkowski’s targets, the 2016 Tongass Land Management Plan Amendment and the Roadless Rule, help keep the Tongass the wild place that we all love.Read more
With the new government in British Columbia, now is the time to speak up, be heard, and protect our rivers! Here are some ways that we can address the threat of mines on our transboundary rivers and take action to make sure that our communities continue to thrive.Read more
We need your help today to stop another devastating bill that takes aim at our national forests. The House of Representatives is voting on H.R. 2936, the so-called “Resilient Federal Forests Act of 2017,” this morning, Alaska time. This bill, introduced in June by Representative Bruce Westerman, sets a dangerous precedent and threatens the health of all our national forests by strangling the public’s ability to influence management of these valuable public lands, completely failing to address the real problem with wildfire funding in our national forests: the growing impact of wildfire suppression on the Forest Service's annual budget.
At the end of September, we wrote to tell you about our win upholding the Roadless Rule on the Tongass. Today, we were deeply disappointed to hear that Alaska Senator Lisa Murkowski is mounting a two-pronged attack on the Tongass: to exempt the Tongass (again) from the Roadless Rule and indefinitely delay implementation of last December’s Tongass Land Management Plan Amendment decision.Read more
The Southeast Alaska Conservation Council along with Alaska Native and other conservation groups has asked for federal involvement in protecting our transboundary rivers, petitioning the Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross to investigate six mines in British Columbia. The mines are on the Taku, Stikine, and Unuk Rivers which flow from B.C. into Alaska. These rivers provide habitat for the abundant salmon runs which drive our economy and have sustained local communities for thousands of years.Read more
From the Tongass National Forest to the rest of the United States, nearly 50 million acres of national forest remain protected today thanks to a new decision by the U.S. District Court of the District of Columbia. The judge sided with the USDA, Forest Service, and conservation organizations including SEACC in striking down the state of Alaska’s latest attack on the ‘Roadless Rule,’ and protecting our wild ‘roadless’ areas from logging and logging roads into the future.Read more
As members of the Alaska Congressional Delegation introduce legislation in Washington DC that may affect the Tongass National Forest, you count on us to keep you informed.
Our Alaska Senators introduced several new bills this summer, but some will ring awfully familiar to many long time SEACC supporters, like the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Improvement Act of 2017 or the ANCSA Unrecognized Community Landless Natives Authorization Act of 2017. SEACC is keeping a sharp eye on these bills, and will alert you if they start moving. Together, by letting our elected officials hear our voices, we can help assure that decisions made far away in Washington D.C. are the best possible for Southeast’s land, water, and people.Read more
August 4th marks the 3-year anniversary of the Mt Polley Mine Disaster, the worst environmental mining disaster in B.C.’s history. That day, a massive earthen tailings dam broke from its foundations, releasing millions of liters of toxic mine tailings into nearby Quesnel Lake, a major tributary of the Frasier River, one of Canada’s most important salmon-producing rivers. The dam was less than 20 years old.
The Quesnel Lake watershed has long provided the communities of the Xat’sull First Nation and town of Likely with clean water and fish. The waters of the lake, the deepest fjord lake in North America, were pristine and off limits to dumping. Now, three years later, the First Nations community remains unable to eat the lake’s fish that has sustained them for thousands of years. There have also been significant losses to the once flourishing tourism industry which has seen no compensation. Because Quesnel Lake is no longer pristine, BC now allows mine water to be dumped there.Read more