How to Formally Object to the Kensington Mine Expansion

Berners Bay by John Hyde

Written by Aaron Brakel

August 17, 2021

Dear friends of Berners Bay,

If you made a public comment on the proposed Kensington Mine expansion and closure plan — then you are now eligible to make a formal objection by August 23.

Objecting is a structured and formal process, but the barrier is not too high.

Here’s how to do it:

  1. First, check if you submitted comments by going to the Forest Service Kensington project page at fs.usda.gov/project/?project=55533.
  2. Under the Get Connected section on the right-hand side, click on the Public Comment/Objection Reading Room link. Use the fields in that link to search your name and open your comment letter.
  3. Then, send the Regional Forester your objection about their failures. Use the heading and email address and format below in your letter. If your earlier comments are reflected in the draft language below, please feel free to use or modify them.

Please be sure to add your own thoughts about the risks that an expansion at Kensington poses to Berners Bay. It’s important for our public land managers to hear about your personal experiences and connection to the area, as well as your concerns.

Here’s a document explaining the objection process:

The Forest Service Objection Process for Project‐level Decisions

Here’s the required header information for an objection:

Regional Forester David E. Schmid
USDA Forest Service, Alaska Region
709 W. 9th Street
P.O. Box 21628
Juneau, AK 99802-1628
Email address: [email protected]
Fax: (907) 586-7840
Phone: (907) 586-8863

RE: Draft Record of Decision (ROD) Objection for the Plan of Operations Amendment 1 (POA1) for the Kensington Gold Mine on the Juneau Ranger District, Tongass National Forest.

Dear Regional Forester Schmid,

Here’s sample language for a formal objection from a member of the public:

Having previously submitted similar comments on the Draft Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (SEIS), I wish to object to the decision by the Forest Service not to analyze a reasonable alternative, the Dry Stack Tailings option on the Lynn Canal side. Dry stack is the industry-recommended best practice and is used elsewhere in the Juneau Ranger District. Use of this available best practice approach would avoid the risks to Berners Bay that an increase in the tailings dam would incur.

Furthermore, as I indicated in my earlier comments, the Forest Service has failed to adequately address potential climate change-related impacts to the tailings dam expansion proposal. I object to the Final SEIS’s failure to adequately address this concern.

Please withdraw the Final SEIS and the Draft Record of Decision, fix the errors in analysis and process, including the previously authorized alternative of a Dry Tailings Facility on the Comet Beachside, and publish an updated Draft SEIS for public comment.

Here’s what to keep in mind:

The objection must have your name, postal address, and a scanned signature or other means of verifying the identity of the individual or entity objecting.

To learn more about Berners Bay and the proposed Kensington Mine expansion plan, see SEACC’s website. For help with the objection process, contact Aaron Brakel at [email protected] or call 907-586-6942.

Thank you for taking action to protect Berners Bay.

Sincerely,
Aaron Brakel
Inside Passage Waters Program Manager

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