Alaska Digest

Posted: Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Closed-door talks about mine continue

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JUNEAU - Representatives of three environmental organizations and the owners of the Kensington Mine met behind closed doors on Monday for the second time in the recent weeks to discuss disposal of the gold mine's chemically processed tailings.

Coeur Alaska met with the Southeast Alaska Conservation Council, Lynn Canal Conservation and the Juneau chapter of the Sierra Club, authorizing Mayor Bruce Botelho to issue a short statement.

"The parties anticipate a series of consultations between their technical experts in the coming weeks. The parties will next meet in Juneau in November," Botelho said in the statement.

"No additional information about the content of the talks will be forthcoming," the statement said.

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in May that a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' permit to allow the mine's chemically processed tailings to be put in Lower Slate Lake violated the Clean Water Act. The mine's owner, Coeur Alaska, a co-defendant, appealed that decision and asked for a review by the full court.

The two sides are waiting to hear whether the 9th Circuit will review the case again.

The environmental groups sued the U.S. government over the tailings disposal plan for the mine, about 45 miles north of downtown. In response to Coeur's appeal, they asked the court on Friday not to rehear the case.

Fort Richardsonsoldier killed in Iraq

WARD, Ark. - The Department of Defense says a soldier based out of Fort Richardson has been killed in Iraq.

The Defense Department says 1st Lt. Thomas Martin of Ward died Sunday in Al Busayifi, Iraq, after insurgents attacked his unit using small arms fire.

Martin was 27. He was assigned to the 1st Squadron, 50th Cavalry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division based out of Fort Richardson.

Fairbanks teen dies in high-speed crash

FAIRBANKS - Fairbanks police say a teen has died after possibly being involved in a race in which speeds reached nearly 100 mph.

Sixteen-year-old Riley August Brand of Fairbanks died in the Sunday night accident on the Richardson Highway.

Police say Brand was pronounced dead at the scene after his vehicle, possibly traveling at 95 mph, struck the fender of a truck as he was changing lanes near Fort Wainwright.

Witnesses reported Brand's vehicle and another were possibly racing.

Both Brand and a 17-year-old passenger were ejected from the vehicle. The passenger, who hasn't been identified, is listed in satisfactory condition at a Fairbanks hospital.

Police say they cited Brand for racing last month, when his car and another vehicle may have exceeded 100 mph in a construction zone.

Pilots warned of ash from Russian volcano

ANCHORAGE - The Federal Aviation Administration is warning pilots in Alaska to beware of ash from a Russian volcano.

Bezymianny volcano on Russia's Kamchatka Peninsula put ash into the atmosphere Sunday and Monday.

The ash traveled along the Aleutian Islands to the island of Shemya and is expected to reach as far east as Cold Bay before winds take it southeast into the North Pacific.

That's according to Tony Hall, meteorologist in charge at the National Weather Service's Alaska Aviation Unit in Anchorage.

FAA spokesman Allen Kenitzer says the agency has warned pilots about the 30,000-foot cloud, but is not issuing any mandatory groundings.

Ash can damage the engines and windshields of aircraft.

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