Murkowski Applauds Kensington Mine Decision
U.S. Supreme Court finds in favor of Coeur Alaska and state of Alaska in Kensington mine permit
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, today welcomed the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision reaffirming the validity of Coeur Alaska’s permit to dispose of mine tailings at the Kensington gold mine near Juneau.
“I’ve long agreed with all of the federal agencies that had reviewed the Kensington plan, that it was environmentally, the best option,” Murkowski said. “Now the Supreme Court has found that it’s 100 percent compliant with the law.”
The high court ruled Monday that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has authority to permit Kensington mine to deposit rock waste into Lower Slate Lake in the Tongass National Forest.
Conservation groups had sued Coeur Alaska, claiming the mine’s owners should have applied for a permit from the Environmental Protection Agency. The court found that the law places the proper responsibility for the permits under the Corps, not the EPA.
“Today’s final rule clarifies that any material that has the effect of fill is regulated under section 404,” Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote for the majority.
Voting in favor of Coeur Alaska in the 6-3 decision were Justices Kennedy, John Roberts, Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito, Stephen Breyer and Antonin Scalia. Dissenting were Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, David Souter and John Stevens.
The high court’s decision will allow work to resume at Kensington.
“The Kensington mine has enjoyed extraordinary support from Juneau,” Murkowski said. “The Supreme Court has resolved the most significant obstacle to the creation of hundreds of direct and indirect jobs and a major boost for the economy of Juneau and Southeast Alaska.”