Conflicts of interest

Posted: Tuesday, April 08, 2003

The Juneau Assembly's Lands Committee wants to change the current mining regulation ordinance that is working very well.

Why? We now have a law that places necessary environmental safeguards on potentially unfettered mine operations in the so called "rural" areas of our city and borough. Rural is a relative term in 2003 and Berners Bay is only roughly 40 miles from downtown Juneau. I can recall when Echo Cove was considered rural but is now, very fortunately, a greenbelt zone and major "wild" recreational area for the Greater Juneau area to recreate in.

The proponents for changing a good existing law are rather obviously wanting to begin industrial development of the recreational areas of Berners Bay and elsewhere and have seemingly created, in my eyes anyway, the appearances of a conflict of interest at the local and state levels. The chairman of the Assembly's Lands Committee and a newly appointed deputy director for the Department of Transportation, respectively, have individual business and family interests in the development processes at Berners Bay.

I must wonder how this hearings process can remain impartial or ever be a process for the greater welfare of the majority of Juneau residents.

Alan R. Munro


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