Mine, state seek reversal of judge's request for economic study

Posted: Tuesday, April 16, 2002

FAIRBANKS (AP) -- Fairbanks Gold Mining and the Alaska Department of Natural Resources have asked tht a Superior Court judge reconsider his request for an economic impact analysis of the True North gold mine.

Both parties say that DNR performed a study of the mine's economic impact prior to issuing the mine's right-of-way permits.

''We feel that DNR did a good job,'' said Tom Irwin, vice president of Fairbanks Gold Mining. ''DNR will put together an appropriate packet of response to prove it.''

Superior Court Judge Charles Pengilly told the state to conduct the economic analysis of the mine in a decision handed late last month. The group Neighborhood Mine Watch filed a lawsuit appealing the permits issued for the mine, located 30 miles north of Fairbanks.

Pengilly asked DNR to address how noise and lights from the mine's ore hauling trucks, which operate 24-hours a day, would affect tourism businesses near the mine.

DNR said in its reconsideration request that, before it issued the permits, it acknowledged that aurora borealis viewing businesses would be affected by the light and noise of the ore trucks. The department called for such measures as moving the haul road away from the businesses, the request said.

The agency said the measures were the direct result of an economic impact analysis.

Because the department's measures diminished impacts, DNR concluded that ''tourism business will continue at Cleary Summit'' and ''the state is creating a greater economic benefit to the state,'' the department argued.

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