Proposed mining-ordinance changes

Posted: Sunday, March 09, 2003

What's in place now: The city's existing mining ordinance outlines permit procedures for small and large mines in Juneau. It requires the city to review whether local mining projects meet air and water quality standards; properly contain and dispose of sewage, solid waste, hazardous and toxic materials; minimize safety hazards; and protect historic sites. It also requires mines to limit adverse impacts on the public and neighboring properties, citing traffic, noise, dust, unsightly visual aspects, surface subsidence, avalanches, landslides and erosion as concerns. Large mines are required to submit a socioeconomic impact assessment.

City code defines a large mine as an operation that involves more than 20 acres of "affected surface disturbance" or has more than 75 employees in Juneau.

What's proposed: The Assembly's Lands Committee is looking at possible amendments that would insert a rural mine classification in the ordinance, remove redundancies with state and federal processes and eliminate city certification of state and federal standards, committee Chairman Randy Wanamaker said.

Another proposal would allow the city to make a presumptive finding that a mine meets local requirements if it successfully completes state and federal reviews, unless staff show the federal and state processes are insufficient. The city's socioeconomic impact requirements would be covered in the federal review process.

Where to comment: The Assembly's Lands Committee is accepting suggestions for possible mining ordinance changes through Monday. After that, the committee will accept written comments on specific amendments. Committee meetings are open to the public, with the next meeting scheduled at 5 p.m. Monday at City Hall. Written comments should be sent to the Lands Committee at 155 South Seward St., Juneau, Alaska 99801 or to Borough_Assembly@ci.juneau.ak.us.



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