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Articles written by J.p. Tangen


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  • A helicopter at a drill rig on Northern Dynasty’s Pebble project in Alaska.

    There is something wrong, very wrong

    J.P. Tangen, Special to Mining News|Updated Jun 30, 2022

    Recently, the Environmental Protection Agency, citing section 404(c) of the Clean Water Act, announced its intention to prohibit the use of the Bristol Bay watershed for discharging dredged or fill material from the Pebble Project. Both of our Senators issued statements giving qualified support for the proposed decision. Senator Murkowski, however, took the position that she has "never supported a blanket, preemptive approach for any project" recognizing "that this could be...

  • Alaska Transfer on Death Act deed inheritance mining law claims assets probate

    Nothing is certain but death and taxes

    J.P. Tangen, Special to Mining News|Updated Aug 26, 2021

    In a recent case that crossed my desk, I was confronted by what seems to have been an easily avoided problem relating to the estate of a long-time, well-known, very sophisticated Alaska miner. Since he had a good estate plan in place and a supportive and interested family who was prepared to look after his mining interests in Alaska, I am confident that the reason this simple step was not taken was because his legal advisors simply missed it. Out of concern that there are othe...

  • North of 60 Mining News Joe Biden COVID-19 Army Corps of Engineers

    It was the best and the worst of times

    J.P. Tangen, Special to Mining News|Updated Jan 14, 2021

    With 2020 in the rearview mirror, now is a good time to reflect on and prognosticate about Alaska and things mining. First, with regard to things past, from the impeachment to the election, 2020 was not a great year. Despite the incessant sniping at the President's heels, the Administration almost survived for another term. Due to the weighting of the Electoral College system, some analysts tell us that a shift of only 22,000 votes would have changed the outcome. While the...

  • RBG evening vigil Supreme Court steps Washington DC

    Ruth Bader Ginsburg has earned her paean

    J.P. Tangen, Special to Mining News|Updated Sep 24, 2020

    We all join in mourning the passing of one of the truly great Justices of the United States Supreme Court (SCOTUS). Not because of her bent, but because she personified the finest qualities of a loyal opponent. Her opinions and, more often, her dissenting opinions rationally articulated the argument for the liberal view, persuasively advancing the progressive cause in the face of tradition, policy and tribal instinct. Her absence from the bench denotes the end of a monumental...

  • Regulatory overreach has met its master

    J.p. Tangen, Special to Mining News|Updated Jan 28, 2018

    Without putting too fine a point on it, federal regulatory initiatives reached a crescendo during the last administration. According to the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, since Jan. 1, 2000, the bureaucracy has generated more than 10,000 regulations, of which 1,830 were deemed "Economically Significant". The term, "Economically Significant," in general, means that it is likely to have an annual effect on the economy of the United States of $100 million or more....

  • It's time to give some kudos to Trump

    J.p. Tangen, Special to Mining News|Updated Jan 14, 2018

    Despite the obsession of the (District of) Columbians with health care, the Russians and Twitter, it seems to me that there are one or two good things to discuss when it comes to the new administration. For instance, with regard to health care, if the population of the United States is more or less 325,000,000 people and that if 25,000,000 people more or less are in some form of jeopardy with regard to health care, the fair inference is that 300,000,000 are not in such...

  • Interior Department should cut red tape

    J.P. Tangen, Special to Mining News|Updated Jan 13, 2018

    Despite some of the significant things that Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke has done in his brief tenure as head of the U. S. Department of the Interior, one item of broad concern, to me at least, does not yet appear to have made it onto his radar screen: the overwhelming burden of Interior compliance with the intricacies of the Administrative Procedure Act, or "APA". Although the Secretary is bound by the statutory mandate and the innumerable judicial interpretations that have...

  • Draft MSHA regs may save $27.6 million

    J.p. Tangen, Special to Mining News|Updated Sep 24, 2017

    Although many of us think that it didn't go far enough, one of the more important first steps that President Trump took in January was the promulgation of Executive Order (E. O.) 13771 which imposed a ceiling on new regulations. "For every new regulation issued, at least two prior regulations [shall] be identified for elimination … the cost of planned regulations [shall] be prudently managed and controlled through a budgeting process." For the natural resources industries in A...

  • Is Donald Trump the new Andrew Jackson?

    J.p. Tangen, Special to Mining News|Updated Jun 18, 2017

    There have been numerous comparisons of President Trump to President Jackson in the news and elsewhere, some of which have not been flattering to either; however, it does seem reasonable to take a brief look at the past in order to make an educated guess about the future. First, the two men are extraordinarily different. Jackson was a war hero, despite the fact that his most noteworthy victory, at the Battle of New Orleans, took place after the War of 1812 was over. (Neither...

  • I did my civic duty today and voted

    J.p. Tangen, Special to Mining News|Updated Aug 21, 2016

    According to legend, in 333 BC, while on his way to conquer the Persian Empire, Alexander the Great stopped at Gordion, where he learned about a special wagon that had its pole tied to the wagon body with an intricate knot. A prophecy had foretold that whoever could unfasten the knot would go on to rule over Asia. Alexander tried to unfasten the knot, but when he was unable to do so, he drew his sword and cut right through it. As a bit of a political junkie, I track the pundit...

  • Alaskans discuss 35 years under ANILCA

    J.p. Tangen, Special to Mining News|Updated Dec 20, 2015

    For many of us, Dec. 2, 1980 was one of the darkest days in Alaska's history, for that was the day that more than 100 million acres of public land in Alaska were ripped from the public domain and placed off limits to virtually all forms of development. Fortunately, Alaskans were promised two things by the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act: First, that this statute satisfied the need of the Carter administration to bend to the will of his Green constituency; and...

  • Cops arbitrarily raid Fortymile placers

    J.p. Tangen, Guest Editorial for Mining News|Updated Sep 29, 2013

    In August, according to all indications, the U.S Environmental Protection Agency Environmental Crimes Task Force conducted a series of raids on placer mining operations along the Fortymile River under extremely unusual and questionable circumstances. Despite the reticence of the agency to be forthcoming, these actions bear all the earmarks of an abuse of discretion by the Agency and beg for public scrutiny. The undisputed facts indicate that sworn EPA officers appeared fully...

  • Lilliputian views 9th Circuit decision

    J.p. Tangen, For Mining News|Updated Jun 24, 2012

    The 9th Circuit handed down an en banc ruling on June 1, 2012, counter-posing placer mining on federal claims within the national forest along the Klamath River pursuant to a 36 CFR 228.4 Notice of Intent and Section 7 of the Endangered Species Act. Karuk Tribe of California v. U. S. Forest Service, No. 05-16801. Unsurprisingly, the majority ruled against the USFS and concomitantly against the miners on the single question of whether before consenting to a notice of intent, NO...

  • Miners honor Borell, appoint Paraday

    J.p. Tangen, For Mining News|Updated Nov 20, 2011

    The winter convention season is upon us, and the first of many such events is sponsored by the Alaska Miners Association each November. This year's convention was filled with the customary excitement. The papers were excellent and well received. Attendance was at record levels. The conversations were focused on the successes of the past season and the plans for next year. In brief, the convention was similar to all recent ones, save the banquet, which was unique. After 22...

  • Just kidding, the sky isn't falling

    J.p. Tangen, For Mining News|Updated Sep 26, 2010

    Several readers of last month's column were struck by the excessively cynical tone of my admonition that the last person out of Alaska should please turn out the lights. In retrospect, perhaps I was too rash because, in truth, Alaska will continue to be a fertile ground for all manner of relevant and critical activities for as far into the distant future as we are able to see. For instance, although there may continue to be a diminishing military establishment here, even in the total absence of saber-rattling along the...

  • Shall we count our blessings or our fingers?

    J.p. Tangen, For Mining News|Updated Nov 25, 2007

    The price of gold surged through $800 per ounce recently, headed north; and all gold miners (as well as the producers of many other commodities in the United States) are bound to have a happy Thanksgiving because of it. At the recent Alaska Miners Association Convention the faces of the more than 600 attendees confirmed the good news. Happy days are here again - or are they? The cautionary note, of course, is that currency traders are also hooting and hollering. If the price of gold was going up, and the price of the...

  • Mining and the Law: Federal mine claim holders to face new challenges

    J.p. Tangen, Guest Columnist|Updated Aug 26, 2007

    I want you to tear this article out of the paper and save it. I'll explain why in a minute, but the point is that you will want to refer to it often over the next several months if you have any interest in federal mining claims; and, more to the point, if you have any friends or family who have an interest in federal mining claims and have not seen this article, you will want to show it to them. The reason? Pending in Congress as we speak is legislation that, if it becomes law...

  • Mining and the law: Rio Tinto and the Pebble project

    J.p. Tangen, For Mining News|Updated Apr 29, 2007

    Kenai Peninsula College Anthropology Professor Alan Boraas is a frequent op-ed contributor to the Anchorage Daily News. One of his regular targets for criticism is the Pebble copper project in southwest Alaska. Most recently, on April 14, the brunt of his criticism was the involvement of Rio Tinto in the project. In Prof. Boraas' words, news of the Rio Tinto buy-in is "not good for those concerned with environmental and community impacts of the proposed mine." He notes that...

  • Mining and the Law; 'Children of a Common Mother'

    J.p. Tangen, Guest Columnist|Updated Mar 25, 2007

    Inscribed on the Peace Arch over the international border near Blaine, Wash., are the words, "Children of a Common Mother." I have long felt that Canadians are just like Americans, except that they are just a little bit different. When it comes to mining in Alaska, we all owe our Canadian siblings a great debt of gratitude, because over the past two decades they have spent well over $800 million in our state on exploration alone, seeking to develop our vast mineral potential....

  • Mining and the Law: The miners are coming! The miners are coming!

    J.p. Tangen, Guest Columnist|Updated Feb 25, 2007

    According to a recent World Trade Center Alaska report, for the 11-month period ending Nov. 30, 2006, mining exports represented more than 25 percent of the state's foreign exports, and foreign exports constituted 10 percent of Alaska's Gross Domestic Product. At $2 billion, mining was second only to seafood and twice the value of petroleum products. With the gas pipeline trailing off over the distant horizon, the role of mining in Alaska's economy during the next decade is destined to increase. Naysayers and NIMBYs should...

  • Mining and the Law: Governor picks knowledgeable expert to lead DEC

    J.p. Tangen, Guest Columnist|Updated Jan 28, 2007

    While the jury may still be out when it comes to our new governor, Sarah Palin, it sure seems like she is starting off on the right foot. Every administration must wrestle with the need to recruit high-quality leaders to head up the state's many agencies and departments. First, the best and the brightest must be persuaded to put down their present vocations, usually at a substantial pay cut, to pursue a new direction; next, they are confronted with the dilemma of whether to...

  • Mining and the Law: Northwestern miners gather at Reno convention

    J.p. Tangen, Guest Columnist|Updated Dec 24, 2006

    During the first full week in December approximately 1,800 miners and members of support industries met in Reno for the Northwest Mining Association's annual convention. The convention was characterized by a large number of smiles as the industry emerges from a decades-long period of depressed metals prices. The convention featured presentations concerning the status of projects as well as developments in the industry ranging from mine cleanup to safety and health issues. Amon...

  • Mining and the Law: What if we don't get a gas pipeline?

    J.p. Tangen, Guest Columnist|Updated Nov 26, 2006

    I don't know whether Alaskans will ever see a gas pipeline or not. Of course, I hope we will, but if we don't, how will we pay the cost of operating the state? We know these things. The all-Alaska pipeline has been kicking around for decades but hasn't come to pass. The prices of oil and gas have peaked and now turned down. Gov. Murkowski dedicated four years in a full court press to bring the major producers to an agreement but has yet to close the deal and, allegedly, had...

  • After 20-year delay, mining claimant may soon start down the long road to justice

    J.p. Tangen, Guest Columnist|Updated Oct 29, 2006

    New people, I think, have any real sense as to how much of a burden the federal government places on those who seek to develop minerals on the public domain and in the national forests. In Alaska, although there are vast deposits of valuable minerals in the ground, and although it is relatively easy to locate a mining claim, that is only the beginning of the job. Because of statehood selections and selections made by Native corporations pursuant to the Alaska Native Claims...

  • Mining and the Law: The case of the Tulsequah Chief

    J.p. Tangen, Guest Columnist|Updated Sep 24, 2006

    If you have ever thought that the cost of manufactured goods is too low, and wondered what you can do about it, you might consider the case of the Tulsequah Chief prospect in nearby British Columbia. The Tulsequah Chief is an historic mine located up the Tulsequah River, a tributary to the Taku, about 40 miles north of Juneau and about 60 miles south of Atlin, British Columbia. The Tulsequah Chief was discovered in 1925 and it produced base and precious metals from 1951 to...

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