Gov. Parnell Moves to Erase Sarah Palin, Seeks to Reopen Kensington Gold Mine near Juneau

Parnell has moved to support the reopening of the Kensington Mine near Juneau, Alaska.  The Corps of Engineers had revoked the fill permit allowing the mine to dump tailings in a land locked lake
00Kensington Gold Mine

The entrance tunnel and water treatment facility for the Kensington Gold Mine operated by Coeur Alaska can be seen against Lion Head Mountain near Juneau, Alaska. Environmental groups have demonstrated that permits allowing the proposed Kensington Gold Mine to dump tons of chemical waste into Lower Slate Lake located in the Tongass National Forest will violate the Clean Water Act.

Gov. Sean Parnell made his first move to put his stamp on the Governor’s office.

Sarah Palin’s long time friend and confidant Kris Perry, the Governor’s Anchorage office manager, stepped down.  Kris was replaced by a long time Parnell aide, Cindy Sims.

The most notable change was the resignation of Frank Bailey, Director of Boards and Commissions.  Frank attracted notoriety with his famous call to Lt. Rod Dial to discuss Trooper Wooten and confidential personnel issues that he should never have been privy to, given his position.  However, Frank was Sarah’s loyal dog, and he did what he was told.  Of that, there is no doubt.

Parnell will have a hard job ahead of him, as he made the same mistake Palin did in keeping so many of former Governor Murkowski’s appointees.  However, that situation is expected the change slowly to prevent disruption and controversy.

It is rumored that the new Lt. Gov. Craig Campbell may be carrying some baggage with him to his new office.  Campbell was the Commissioner and Adjutant General of the Alaska Department of Military and Veterans Affairs.  Alleged is that he had 3 Inspector General investigations ongoing prior to his leaving DMVA.

One issue that may follow him is his failure to integrate the Alaska State Defense Force into the State’s emergency response and force structure.  Late last year, the commander of the ASDF, Tom Westall resigned, because of a complaint to the Governor’s office regarding the lack of organization and the lack of accountability of ASDF leadership.  Manpower estimates were alleged to have been falsified in reports to DMVA.  Rather than correct them, Campbell covered his subordinate and ignored the falsification of State records..   (10/28/2008 Anchorage Daily News, Zaz Hollander reporting.)

As a result of an investigation into the complaint to the Governor, ASDF was also temporarily disarmed and ordered to stand down from its law enforcement mission.  Campbell had started a reorganization pursuant to the investigator’s report and recommendations, but not much has been done since the appointment of a new ASDF Commander earlier this year.

In terms of resource development,  .  The U.S. Supreme Court had reversed the revocation and ordered the Corps to reissue the permit.  The EPA has since called for additional public comment, which would serve to further delay the opening of the mine.  Parnell send Colonel Reinhard W. Koenig of the Corps of Engineers in Alaska a strongly worded letter expressing the State’s support of reopening the mine as soon as possible.

Kensington Mine will employ up to 300 Alaskans.  Jobs that are desperately needed in southeastern Alaska.

Parnell is seeking to end the circus that resulted from the abuse of the State’s ethics laws.  Parnell had asked Attorney General Dan Sullivan to provide recommendations on how to prevent leaks of confidential information in ethics probes.

Parnell’s request comes after the leak of an investigator’s confidential and preliminary report related to an ethics complaint filed against Governor Sarah Palin.

“These leaks must stop,” Parnell said. “If we allow public officials to be tried and convicted in the press through abuse of the legal process, then the Executive Branch is at risk. The rule of law is threatened.”

Parnell said that leaking the investigator’s preliminary report is just like walking into a courthouse, lifting some notes from the jurors’ break room and publishing them before all the evidence is in and before a verdict is reached.

Parnell recognized the need for accountability for public officials, but said the ethics laws are being abused.

“If confidential information was leaked from our courts, there would be an outcry,” he said. “There must be respect for the law when it comes to Executive Branch ethics investigations.”

In order to position himself for the next election, Gov.Sean Parnell  will have to convince the voters of Alaska that he offers something other than an ongoing soap opera.

Lawrence Wood


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