Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Murkowski Praised for Defense of Transboundary Rivers

Salmon Beyond Borders is offering kudos to Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, for her efforts to develop a water quality strategy for transboundary rivers in Southeast Alaska impacted by mining activities.

“Eighty percent of Southeast Alaska king salmon come from the transboundary Taku, Stikine and Unuk rivers, yet British Columbia is pushing “go” on more than a dozen mines in these watersheds,” said Salmon Beyond Borders Director Jill Weitz. “It’s imperative we have good, reliable science documenting the quality of these rivers so that we can hold the Canadian government accountable for downstream impacts to US resources,” Weitz said.

As chair of the Interior, Environment and Related Agencies Appropriations Committee, Murkowski recently announced a series of provisions within the fiscal year 2019 Interior Appropriations bill. They included increased funding of $1.5 million for transboundary river stream gauges, including a gauge along the Unuk River near Ketchikan, where Seabridge Gold’s proposed Kerr-Sulphurets-Mitchell project poses potential adverse impact to the river.

The provisions also directed the US Geological Survey to enter into a formal partnership with local tribes and other agencies to help develop a water quality strategy for transboundary rivers.

The fiscal year 2019 bill is now headed to the Senate floor or final consideration.

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