The Palin administration's response to the Clean Water Initiatives is disturbing. KTUU news said the administration worked hard behind the scenes and offered stricter guidelines for the Pebble Mine in exchange for dropping the petition drive.
Apparently, Palin et al considers mine permitting a negotiable bargaining chit rather than a transparent regulatory process based on objective analysis of risks. Palin has been coy about her stance on Pebble and slow to enact positive changes that are needed to raise the bar that was lowered by the Murkowski administration. Now she has shown her hand.
Furthermore, if Alaska has a world-class system in place for natural resource use permitting (as Commissioner Tom Irwin stated last July in a media release), wouldn't stricter guidelines be appropriate regardless of the initiatives? And now that there is no deal, does that mean that DNR will not conduct a thorough review of Pebble's permit application? If DNR says it will still have a credible review, then what did they actually propose that would not be done anyhow? Very confusing.
Given the shenanigans that are going on behind the scenes, I think the only alternative is to let the voters of Alaska decide; which is what the initiatives accomplish. I trust the people to do what's right more than our manipulated permitting process.
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