Constantine employees and local boosters of the Palmer Project have repeatedly claimed that mining in Alaska is done safely, carefully, and in compliance with all laws and regulations to protect local waters and fisheries, and our State regulators work tirelessly to make it so. The recent EPA settlement for 200+ permit violations by Coeur Alaska’s Kensington Mine proves both claims are myths: unauthorized discharges, inaccurate sampling, failure to repair containment structures, improperly trained employees, missed inspections, inadequate monitoring of the facility…and on and on. Perhaps most concerning is the EPA inspection leading to these charges took place in 2015 and despite being aware of the ongoing investigation DEC has still not been conducting adequate, independent monitoring of the facility the past four years. One violation, the illegal dumping of acid generating rock into Lower Slate Lake was “resolved” by DEC two weeks ago – the department simply expanded the discharge permit to make such releases legal! The performance of this “model first-world mine” and lack of action (and apparent concern) by our State “watchdog agency” should answer for everyone the question of why LCC, CIV, TWC, SEACC, and ACWA have found it so necessary to carefully review every document produced by Constantine and go to such lengths to make our findings known. The remarkably flawed Plan of Operations recently approved by the State for the Palmer Project unfortunately demonstrates that nothing has changed in terms of industry performance or State regulatory control.

Gershon Cohen, Project Director, ACWA