Alaska and British Columbia on Wednesday signed a memorandum of understanding giving the state a larger role in transboundary mine permitting decisions.
Gov. Bill Walker and B.C. Premier Christy Clark signed the document during a teleconference. Lt. Gov. Byron Mallott and B.C. Mining Minister Bill Bennett oversaw its development.
Bennet says it’s a framework covering permitting, water testing, transportation and other transboundary issues.
“It signifies and formalizes our commitment, Alaska and B.C’s commitment, to work more closely together, to put more effort into that collaboration and to work on further agreements between the jurisdictions that will allow us to put in some detail exactly what that additional collaboration looks like.”
He says the other agreements should be completed early next year.
Walker issued a statement saying the memorandum could also boost economic development on both sides of the border. That includes improved transportation links and tourism promotion.
Mine critics in Alaska have said such an agreement has no teeth.
The document specifically says it imposes no legally binding obligation that could be enforced in court.
Bennett and Mallott say such provisions can only be part of a treaty between the federal governments of both nations.