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May 19 will be a remarkable day in Ketchikan. Seven cruise ships are expected to bring 13,226 passengers to the First City, beginning at 6 a.m. and ending at 8 p.m. That's more than 2,000 above the highest cruise passenger day a year ago.

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Margaret Mae Bolton, 83, died April 15, 2017, in Ketchikan.
Courtney Marie Marshall, 36, died April 11, 2017, in Seattle.
Marcario Rado, 58, died April 10, 2017, in Ketchikan.
5/27/2014
Pebble mine

It isn't any wonder that a lawsuit is being filed against the EPA by Pebble mine developers.

The Pebble Limited Partnership believes the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency exceeded its authority when it applied a rarely used process under the Clean Water Act in an effort toward concluding that large-scale mining in the Bristol Bay watershed posed risks to salmon. It appears that the EPA is intent on stopping the mine before the partnership's plans are finalized or it is allowed to attempt to acquire permits.

The EPA rationalized that it took the rare step because the salmon fishing is so extraordinary.

But the EPA is addressing a project on state — not federal — land, and as such it is illegal for the EPA to interfere in state land development, according to Pebble officials.

Pebble Partnership CEO Tom Collier points out that if the EPA stops the project before a development plan is even evaluated in the permitting process it sets a precedent for other state projects, as well as projects nationwide.

It essentially begins to pave a way for the EPA to extend its power beyond what it traditionally has had.

It's basically federal overreach. Not only Pebble, but all Alaska business and Alaskans should be opposed to the EPA's action. If EPA would take this course with mining, it would do the same when it comes to other industries, affecting Alaska and its economy.