Assembly approves new appointees to Mining Subcommittee

New members will have voting rights on committee as well

The list of new additions to the city’s Mining Subcommittee was approved Monday night, and the four new members were given the right to vote on the committee as well.

 

At the subcommittee’s Nov. 9 meeting, the three current Assembly members on the committee — chair Norton Gregory, Maria Gladziszewski and Beth Weldon — were split on whether to give the new members of the committee a vote on committee decisions.

Weldon proposed at that meeting that the three Assembly members would be the only voting members, but Gladziszewski was opposed to that. Gregory was in favor of the idea, but at this Monday’s Assembly meeting, he changed his tune.

“Ultimately the final vote is going to come to this Assembly here to decide on it,” Gregory said, “so I see no reason to limit anybody else’s voting abilities.”

The vote ended up being 5-4 in favor of giving voting rights to the new members to the committee. Mayor Ken Koelsch, along with Deputy Mayor Jerry Nankervis and Assembly members Mary Becker and Weldon, voted against giving votes to the new members.

The Assembly also approved the four new appointees: Ben Haight and Paul Voelckers of the Planning Commission, Kyle Moselle and Roman Motyka. Moselle is from the Alaska Department of Natural Resources’ Office of Project Management and Permitting, and Motyka is a Professor Emeritus at the University of Alaska Fairbanks and an instructor at the University of Alaska Southeast.

The formation of the committee sprang from a proposal this April to reexamine the current mining ordinance. A group of businessmen suggested that Juneau’s ordinance is unnecessarily duplicative of state and national standards, which is discouraging companies from pursuing mining in the borough.

[Mayor appoints three Assembly members to start mining ordinance subcommittee]

The goal of the subcommittee is to closely examine the ordinance and determine whether it needs to be changed, and if so, how it should be changed. The subcommittee has already met a handful of times, commissioning Jade North, LLC natural resources consultant Bob Loeffler to draft a report examining the ordinance.

The report was completed in October, but the committee members have not discussed it publicly yet. Loeffler found that Juneau’s ordinance is fairly typical, saying that any overlap between Juneau’s regulations and state and federal regulations “depends on how the ordinance is administered.”

Haight is the chair of the Planning Commission, while Voelckers is the vice chair. Haight is an electrical engineering consultant, while Voelckers is an architect.

According to the Department of Natural Resources website, Moselle serves as the large mine coordinator for the Large Mine Permitting Team. The team has coordinated mines all over the state, including both Greens Creek and Kensington Mines. Moselle declined an interview request, but said he is taking a role on this committee more as a citizen of Juneau than as an employee of the state.

Motyka is a professor at UAF and UAS with more than 40 years experience in geology and geophysics. He said he’s lived in Juneau since 1984 and saw this committee as an opportunity to share his knowledge with the community.

“I really love this town, and it’s meant a lot to me, and I thought that serving on this committee might be a way of paying back the community,” Motyka said, “using my background and expertise to help sort out the questions that are going to arise regarding any changes to the mining ordinance.”


• Contact reporter Alex McCarthy at 523-2271 or alex.mccarthy@juneauempire.com.


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