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PEBBLE MINE

Thousands of people in the Pacific Northwest — commercial fishermen, their crews, sport fishermen, seafood processors, even many boat builders — depend on wild salmon caught every summer in Alaska’s Bristol Bay. The Trump administration has re-started permitting for a controversial mining project there — and locals are gearing up to fight it.

Jan. 13, 2016

Report Finds No Wrongdoing in EPA Study of Pebble Mine

By the Associated Press

A watchdog agency has found no evidence of bias in how the Environmental Protection Agency conducted a study on the potential effects of large-scale mining on a world-premiere salmon fishery in Alaska's Bristol Bay region. The inspector general for the EPA also found no evidence that the agency predetermined the study's outcome. Pebble is challenging the EPA's role in federal court.

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Twice as many Alaskans enrolled for health insurance as last month

The federal government said about 16 thousand Alaskans have signed up for health insurance on healthcare.gov since open enrollment period began Nov. 15. That's about 3,000 more than signed up during the initial 6-month open enrollment period, and half of them are renewals.

Regional Health and Human Services director Susan Johnson, said 16,000 is “huge."

U.S. District Court Judge H. Russel Holland Monday put a temporary hold on the EPA's 404(c) process on the Pebble Mine, a process that allows EPA to restrict or prohibit projects that could have adverse effects on fishery areas. EPA's February decision to initiate the process was based on a Bristol Bay Watershed Assessment it completed in January.

The Pebble Limited Partnership contends that while EPA was developing that assessment, it violated the Federal Advisory Committee Act, which ensures advisory committees are objective and accessible to the public.

Pollsters are closely watching races in a few states to see whether Democrats are going to hang on to their majority in the U.S. Senate. In Alaska, incumbent Sen. Mark Begich, a Democrat, was behind Republican challenger Dan Sullivan in the polls by some five points until last week when Begich pulled ahead by a few points.

Hundreds of people turned out in Anchorage Tuesday to comment on a proposal that would severely restrict development of the massive gold-and-copper Pebble mine in the Bristol Bay region Opponents of the mine say it poses to great a threat to salmon. Others say the project should be allowed to move through the permitting process before any action is taken to curtail development.

In a lawsuit alleging the Environmental Protection Agency overstepped its authority in erecting roadblocks to the Pebble Mine, the group behind the mine has requested advance notice of EPA  actions affecting the mine.

Alaska has set a record in the number of tourists visiting Alaska in the year beginning May 1, 2013.

Congress is asking the EPA to produce documents about the permit review under the Clean Water Act on the Pebble Mine.

Governor Sean Parnell has signed a bill rejecting pay increases for himself and other top state executives.

Galena has its work cut out for it in the coming construction season as it rebuilds from disastrous flooding last year.

Seiners took in 10,300 tons of herring in the first two openings of the sac roe herring fishery in Sitka.