Forty miles west of Anchorage, across Alaska’s cook inlet, the Native Village of Tyonek is off the road system. The community depends on traditional subsistence hunting and fishing. Few things from the outside world make it there, a handful of cars and trucks, a small school bus and snow machines.
The PacRim Mining Corporation has set its sights on constructing a a coal strip mine six miles from Tyonek, on the Chuit River, where the village’s wild salmon spawn. Environmental law firm Trustees for Alaska filed an Unsuitable lands petition with the Alaska Department of Natural Resources (DNR). It argues that the Chuit River is unsuitable for coal strip mining.
On February nineteenth residents and supporters shared their thoughts coal mining on the Chuit River in the last public hearing held on the petition by the DNR. Representatives of the PacRim Mining corporation did not attend.
The DNR is required by law to rule on the petition within sixty days of the final public hearing. However, the DNR is now requesting an additional 45 days to to issue a decision by June third. Trustees for Alaska has written the DNR, protesting that the delay puts the department in violation of their own regulations.