Sitka and Ketchikan’s borough assemblies passed resolutions in the past two weeks asking the federal government to protect Alaska fisheries from transboundary mines.
Salmon Beyond Borders, the resolutions’ backer, also hopes to win support from Juneau, Petersburg and Wrangell’s governing bodies.
The coalition of fisheries, tribal, environmental and other groups is touring Southeast cities to rally support. The group said 10 British Columbia mines or exploration efforts could release pollution that would damage Alaska fish runs.
Salmon Beyond Borders’ Erin Heist spoke at a Sept. 13 event in Sitka.
“These kinds of resolutions, they seem a little bit like a formality. But they’re really, really helpful for us moving this issue forward, especially in D.C. And we’re just going to keep the ball rolling because we have to make as much noise as we can,” she said.
She said they’re an updated version of resolutions passed three years ago.
They call for the federal government to invoke a boundary waters treaty to force Canada to take a stronger role in protecting the headwaters of the region’s rivers.
They’re the Unuk, near Ketchikan; the Taku, near Juneau; and the Stikine, near Wrangell.
British Columbia officials have said the province adequately regulates mining and mineral exploration. Critics point to the Mount Polley Mine tailings dam collapse three years ago. It released millions of gallons of water and mining waste into central B.C. waterways.