Chilkat Valley News - Serving Haines and Klukwan, Alaska since 1966

Cornejo to be replaced as mining forum chair


September 19, 2019

Haines Mining Forum committee member Heather Shade summarized changes to the mining forum during an HEDC meeting on Friday, including the decision to fill the vacant chair position with rotating members.

According to Shade, former chair Liz Cornejo’s position was ending and “nobody else wanted to step up” during the most recent meeting on Aug. 28.

“We didn’t select a chair of the forum itself,” said Shade. Instead, the committee elected to rotate the responsibilities of planning and running meetings between the committee members. The next meeting - expected to be in March - will be planned and chaired by Shade.

The Mining Forum Committee is composed of representatives from local organizations including Constantine and the Haines Chamber of Commerce. Created in 2017, the group aims to “organize public information forums that provide quality information and dialog on mining topics of interest to the community of Haines and Klukwan…,” according to their mission statement.

In the past, critics have argued that the forum is disproportionately composed of pro-mining groups. After its first meeting, the Chilkat Indian Village and Lynn Canal Conservation dropped out, followed by Takshanuk Watershed Council this February.

Shade described a subtle transition to the forum. “We are trying to hone in on particular concerns and issues we need to talk about as a community,” Shade said.

After receiving community feedback throughout the summer, the committee discussed a number of possible changes, including creating additional seats for community members and providing free child care during forums. They also discussed hosting presenters from Constantine as well as the local public to present during public forums.

The next forum is tentatively scheduled for March, according to Shade.


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