Just dropped — the Hecla Greens Creek Mining Company DSEIS

Written by Aaron Brakel

March 24, 2023

Hey folks, check this out.

The Hecla Greens Creek Mining Company tailings expansion draft supplemental environmental impact statement (DSEIS) just dropped! A public open house is scheduled for April 12 in Juneau. A second meeting may be held in Angoon. Written comments will be accepted for 45 days (though a public comment period extension may be in order) following the date of publication of the Notice of Availability of the DSEIS in the Federal Register.

This is a key public process and the outcome will play a huge role in how the mine operates and how impacts on Hawk Inlet, Admiralty Island National Monument, and wildlife and subsistence are handled. The communities of Angoon, Hoonah, and Juneau rely on Hawk Inlet and surrounding waters for food gathering.

A recently released Friends of Admiralty Island clam shell study shows a mine-related increase in lead in the marine environment in Hawk Inlet. Also, in 2022, anadromous waters of Tributary Creek (right next to Greens Creek’s tailings pile!) were recommended for listing as impaired by the State of Alaska because of elevated lead levels. Serious concerns about fugitive dust from the tailings pile have been raised for over a decade, and these recent developments further show that the impacts from the mine must be fully and properly identified.

This DSEIS and public process is a critical inflection point. Your eyes and comments on this project can make a big difference. Environmental stewardship requires public engagement!

At SEACC, we believe that there are significant environmental impacts from the Greens Creek Mine that must be dealt with now in this DSEIS. We will be taking a hard look to ensure the United States Forest Service’s public process deals with the full impacts of the mine on the Admiralty Island National Monument and Hawk Inlet. Greens Creek Mine is the only mine in the United States that is allowed to operate in a National Monument. It does so under a special responsibility, direct from Congress, to demonstrate that it is not doing irreparable harm.

Stay tuned for more information! As we digest the document, we will share our concerns with you and help elevate your voice as we call for proper stewardship of this special place. We will also provide support for your comments with a comment portal and suggested talking points for the Greens Creek North Extension Project.

SEACC has been protecting Southeast Alaska from harmful development practices for more than 50 years. As your trusted conservation group and environmental watchdog, we are honored to work together with the public and folks like the citizen activists at Friends of Admiralty Island to safeguard this place so that its health and bounty may long endure.


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