Kodiak City Council approves draft budget and a letter opposing Pebble Mine Environmental Impact Statement

City says the Environmental Impact Statement for Pebble Mine poses “more questions than it provides answers.” Letter says it needs more information, analysis and forecasting on fishery impacts–from construction to operation, to worst-case scenarios.

Letter also states the potential to harm the ‘Alaska Brand’ would cause all fisheries to suffer if something bad happens to Bristol Bay’s fish.

 

Photo courtesy KDLG.org.

The Kodiak City Council approved in first reading a budget for the coming year, that holds down costs and forced city employees to drill down deep to find ways to save money.

City Council Member John Whiddon said he has been on the council for eight or nine budget cycles. He says that among other goals met, the budget approved last night puts the city close to having a six-month reserve of money.

 

“And I’m really pleased say this is probably the budget I’m most pleased with we’ve actually met all of our budget goals which is not requiring any money coming from the general fund…I’m really pleased with the work the staff has done.”

 

The budget ordinance was approved unanimously.

The public will get a chance to officially comment on the proposed budget when comes up for public hearing at a future council meeting.

The council also approved a letter addressed to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Alaska District dealing with the Pebble Mine’s Environmental Impact Statement, or EIS.

The letter outlines the need for better study and an understanding of the potential impact caused by the various proposed alternatives listed in the draft EIS.

Again, Council Man Whiddon:

“I think the reason it’s important is, as the manager mentioned, is there’s potentially over 500 individuals whose livelihoods are directly impacted by any direct consequence to the Bristol Bay fishery. That’s both fishermen and tender operators.

But beyond that, any potential negative impact, release of toxins, or any damage done to the watershed and consequently the fisheries in Bristol Bay has a potential to have a profound impact on all of our fisheries by damaging the Alaska Brand, which would apply to every fish we deal with here in Kodiak.

 

Whiddon added that Kodiak tends to think only of Kodiak-related fisheries, but the potential for damage to the reputation, or brand, of all Alaska fisheries is too important for Kodiak not to get involved.

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