Yesterday, after more than a year of debate, the CBJ Assembly voted in favor of our Mining Ordinance with the only change being one recommended by SEACC that strengthens, not diminishes our local power.
The Mining Ordinance gives us, the people of Juneau, the ability to protect our home from the potential harm of mining in our community. It provides us with a voice to speak up and safeguard our home, clean water, and quality of life, taking into account our needs along with the short-term profits of mines. The proposal brought to the CBJ Committee of the Whole in May 2017 to strip away 19 of 23 pages of the ordinance would have jeopardized our voice and put the interests of mining companies before the health and wellbeing of the community.
Over the year, the ordinance has been discussed by the Committee of the Whole and Mining Subcommittee, commented on by the public, re-worked for clarification by the City Attorney, and reviewed and approved by the Planning Commission and the City Assembly. In the end, we rebuffed efforts to diminish the ordinance, instead streamlining it and improving some protections. The only substantial change to the new version being ‘recommended by (Guy) Archibald [with] SEACC’ which expands the amount of time the city can hold onto mining company reclamation bonds, from 30 days to up to six months. This means that the city can hold onto these funds, in case of an accident, for a longer amount of time after a mine closes.
This win is in large part due to the work of many members of our community. From the local group Alaskans for Juneau who led the charge starting over a decade ago to the people of our community who have come out over the past year, attending committee meetings, signing petitions, writing the assembly, and attending events. It is this dedication that has led to this outcome.
Can you believe it? This is the SECOND time in a month that we have been able to give you good news! In late July of this year, the Federal Highway Administration nixed the Juneau Road project, a wasteful and dangerous proposal to extend Juneau’s dead-end road.
These results show the power of grassroots activism. We have told our leaders, through our actions and sound arguments that we want a healthy, thriving community based around the needs of residents, not corporations, and they have listened. These wins show that even in times of difficulty when we come together as a community we can make change.
Live in Juneau? Please join us this Thursday in celebration. Bring your family and friends to our final Bonfire on the Beach potluck at Auke Rec at 6:00!
Are you as excited as we are? Donate today to keep the good news coming and make sure that our leaders put our interests first!