Workshop to address mine permits

Posted: Thursday, November 15, 2007

A public workshop on large-mine permitting will be held from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. today in the Egan Room at Centennial Hall.

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The workshop, sponsored by the Department of Natural Resources, is intended to explain how state and federal agencies evaluate mine projects in Alaska. The session will include a forum for the public to comment on the process and make recommendations.

The workshop will include presentations by agencies such as the Alaska departments of Environmental Conservation, Fish and Game, and Natural Resources. Key federal agencies also will participate, including the Environmental Protection Agency and the Army Corps of Engineers.

"Alaskans need to understand the complexities of the mine permitting process. It is not simply a matter of DNR saying yes or no, but rather the coordinated involvement of many state and federal agencies to process dozens of separate permit applications," said Tom Irwin, commissioner of the Department of Natural Resources, in a statement.

The agencies will use the workshop as an opportunity to ask Alaskans how to strengthen the process.

"We have a strong process in place right now, but we are always looking for ways to improve," Irwin said.

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