Defending the Chilkat
On September 15 Chilkat Indian Village announced that its challenge of the State of Alaska’s approval of a wastewater discharge system plan for Palmer/Constantine mineral exploration in Chilkat headwaters resulted in a remand. The approval has been vacated, putting a halt to construction and necessitating an internal review. The Tribe’s press release is attached here:
As described in the release, the Alaska Department of Environmental Quality approved the discharge system earlier this year without public notice, without consulting the Tribe, and apparently with little regard for information pointing to likely environmental problems and potential violation of the Clean Water Act, state law, and current permitting if the system goes forward. The exploration activity is upstream of the Chilkat Indian Village of Klukwan and North America’s only designated Bald Eagle Preserve along the spectacular Chilkat River.
Quoting the release, Tribal President Kimberly Strong said that “Protecting the pristine quality of the Chilkat River Watershed is our responsibility and enshrined in our Tribal Constitution.” For our part, Rivers Without Borders is inspired by the efforts of the Chilkat Tribe standing up for waters “critical to the Tribe for the salmon and other life they support, and for their cultural significance.” Written observations from Chilkat Indian Village about its challenge and the remand decision are also attached here: