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Alaska mine could be blocked to save salmon fisheries

US environmental authorities made a rare move Friday to block a massive copper and gold mine in Alaska before it even gets under way, in a bid to protect wild salmon. The Pebble Mine project has the potential to be one of the biggest open pit copper mines, but once built, it could threaten the exceptionally rich salmon fishery in the Bristol Bay area, the Environmental Protection Agency explained in a statement.

EPA begins process that could restrict, prohibit development of proposed Pebble Mine in Alaska

JUNEAU, Alaska - The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced it is taking the first steps toward restricting or even prohibiting development of a massive gold-and-copper prospect near the headwaters of a premier sockeye salmon fishery in southwest Alaska — though no final decision has been made. While the rarely used EPA process is underway, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers cannot approve a permit for the proposed Pebble Mine project.

U.S. regulator seeks to block Alaskan mine to protect salmon

By Julie Gordon VANCOUVER (Reuters) - U.S. environmental regulators moved on Friday to block development of the Pebble mine in Alaska, which could be one of the largest copper projects in the world, citing potential "irreversible harm" to the state's salmon fishery. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) said it has initiated a rarely used process under the Clean Water Act to "identify appropriate options to protect" the Bristol Bay fishery from the impact of the proposed mine.

2 longtime Sitka business closing; owners cite fewer tourists, increased Internet sales

SITKA, Alaska - Two longtime Sitka retailers are going out of business, citing fewer tourists and increased Internet sales. Colliver Shoes and Bear Country Gifts, along with the furniture and housewares store Home Plus, are closing. Mary Lou Colliver told the Daily Sitka Sentinel (http://is.gd/esAVwr) her business in the community of about 9,000 on Baranof Island couldn't handle another year of decreased tourism and waning local sales.

National restaurant chains find place to expand in America's northernmost state

ANCHORAGE, Alaska - When the Dairy Queen opened in Anchorage in 2006, it was big news. People stood in a line that stretched for two blocks just to get an ice cream cone, and drive-thru traffic backed up just as long. Residents weren't just excited about the treats. They were elated that the Dairy Queen was in the city at all. For years, Alaska might as well have been on another planet, so far off the radar of the big national restaurant chains that those in the Lower 48 became used to — and maybe even grown tired of.

US Customs says no to proposal for tourist flights between Fairbanks and Canada's Dawson City

FAIRBANKS, Alaska - U.S. Customs and Border Protection has denied a proposal to fly tourists between Fairbanks and Canada's Dawson City, saying the agency cannot provide the staff that would be required.

High winds force 4 cruise ships to bypass Ketchikan on Thursday

KETCHIKAN, Alaska - Windy weather on Thursday prompted four cruise ships to bypass Ketchikan. The Ketchikan Daily News reports (http://is.gd/H6pHyl) there were nearly 9,000 passengers plus crews on those ships, and the economic loss was put at about $1.4 million. Winds were steady all day Thursday, gusting up to 36 mph, and about 4 inches of rain was recorded at the airport. Wind is a serious danger for cruise ships, which have broad, tall profiles that can catch the wind. Wind makes docking and undocking difficult.

Alaska asks ConocoPhillips to reopen LNG plant, pursue natural gas export license

ANCHORAGE, Alaska - The state of Alaska wants ConocoPhillips to reopen its mothballed Kenai Peninsula liquefied natural gas plant to provide an incentive for petroleum companies to explore and invest in Cook Inlet. In a Sept. 5 letter to ConocoPhillips President Trond-Erik Johansen, acting Natural Resources Commissioner Joe Balash requested that the company apply for a three-year federal LNG export license for the plant at Nikiski, about 70 miles southwest of Anchorage.

Alaska asks ConocoPhillips to reopen LNG plant, pursue natural gas export license

ANCHORAGE, Alaska - The state of Alaska wants ConocoPhillips to reopen its mothballed Kenai Peninsula liquefied natural gas plant to provide an incentive for petroleum companies to explore and invest in Cook Inlet. In a Sept. 5 letter to ConocoPhillips President Trond-Erik Johansen, Natural Resources Commissioner Joe Balash requested that the company apply for a three-year federal LNG export license for the plant at Nikiski, about 70 miles southwest of Anchorage.

Forest Service allows limited expansion of mine tailing facility; praised by Trout Unlimited

JUNEAU, Alaska - The U.S. Forest Service is allowing for limited expansion of a mine tailing facility at Admiral Island National Monument. The decision, released Friday, authorizes the Greens Creek Mine to expand its tailings disposal facility by about 18 acres. The agency said another eight acres can be developed outside the monument for rock quarry and reclamation material storage sites and for expanding an existing water management pond.
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