Alaska Digest

Staff and Wire reports

Posted: Thursday, November 03, 2005

ANB camp opposes mine interference

JUNEAU - One of Juneau's three Alaska Native Brotherhood camps voted Tuesday night to support the state's intervention in the Kensington Mine environmental lawsuit.

The Glacier Valley Camp No. 70, based in the Mendenhall Valley, also asked the ANB Grand Camp Executive Committee to call on the Alaska Congressional delegation to "investigate the nonprofits that interfere with the development of our resources and (cost) Alaskans' jobs," according to the camp's Wednesday press advisory.

The camp said the "outside groups" have caused delays that result in the loss of local job opportunities for young Natives, "which in turn drives our young people to Lower 48 markets ... killing the future of our communities."

The Juneau-based Southeast Alaska Conservation Council, the Haines-based Lynn Canal Conservation and the Sierra Club are suing federal agencies who approved disposal of Kensington Mine tailings in a subalpine lake.

ANB officials said Juneau's two other ANB camps have not voted on the resolution but will likely do so in the future.

Mining revenue breaks state record

JUNEAU - Alaska's minerals industry produced an all-time record $1.62 billion worth of mineral products and exploration and development investment in 2004, according to a new state report.

It is the ninth year in a row that the mineral industry's production and investment in Alaska exceeded $1 billion.

The state report, produced by the Department of Natural Resources' geological and geophysical surveys division and released by the governor's office on Wednesday, showed that Alaska's mineral production value in 2004 was $338 million higher than 2003 - a record increase.

Development spending totaled $209 million, the third-highest total since 1981. Exploration spending hit nearly $71 million, more than double the amount spent in 2003.

Mining generated 3,049 jobs in Alaska, according to the report.

Woman files 5th claim against Jesuit priest

ANCHORAGE - A woman filed a lawsuit Wednesday claiming a Jesuit priest used his position as a catechism teacher in Nome nearly four decades ago to sexually harass her.

It's the fifth allegation lodged against the Rev. James Poole, 82, who worked for much of his 40-year career in rural Alaska. Two of the claims have been settled for more than $1 million.

The latest plaintiff, referred to only as Jane Doe 4, is not Catholic but her parents urged the girl - then 7 - to attend catechism classes in either 1968 or 1969 for moral instruction, according to the lawsuit filed in Nome.

The woman claims during her second class, Poole took her into a separate room, placed her on his lap and raised his cassock to expose his genitals, court documents say.

Poole then told her they were going to play doctor, and attempted to touch her after placing her on a table and spreading her legs, the lawsuit says. The girl then became frightened, and demanded that she be allowed to return to the main room.

The lawsuit names Poole, the Fairbanks Diocese, and the Society of Jesus, Oregon Province, as defendants.

The diocese had not seen the lawsuit and could not comment, said spokeswoman Ronnie Rosenberg. Messages left Wednesday with Poole, who has retired in Spokane, Wash., and the Society of Jesus' Oregon office were not immediately returned.

Kodiak plant penalized for inaccurate reports

KODIAK - A company will pay a $20,000 penalty to a federal agency for submitting incorrect wastewater discharge reports.

International Seafoods of Alaska accepted responsibility for the error, said Ted Kishimoto, general manager in Kodiak. The proposed penalty from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency was $130,000.

International Seafoods submitted corrected reports showing the facility exceeded its permissible monthly average for oil and grease emissions only once, in February 2002. All other months between July 2000 and July 2002 passed emission tests.

"A former employee used the wrong formula when preparing the reports," Kishimoto said.

"It may seem trivial when a company sends in government paperwork that is wrong," Marcia Combes, director of operations for Alaska operations in Anchorage said in a prepared statement. "But the backbone of knowing the extent of pollution and preventing it lies with the reporting system set up for these companies."

The EPA issued a permit to International Seafoods in 1998 allowing discharge of a limited amount of fish-processing waste into St. Paul Harbor.

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