- Associated Press - Wednesday, November 25, 2015

JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) - The latest on the signing of a cooperative agreement by Alaska Gov. Bill Walker and British Columbia Premier Christy Clark (all times local):

2:50 p.m.

British Columbia’s minister of energy and mines is hailing as significant the signing of a cooperative agreement between his province and the state of Alaska.

The agreement isn’t legally binding. But Bill Bennett says it’s an agreement on an approach to problem-solving and a relationship.

He says that when the leaders of two jurisdictions sign a document saying they’ll cooperate in a certain way that carries a lot of importance.

Gov. Bill Walker and Premier Christy Clark signed the agreement Wednesday. It lays out several areas of shared interest, including continued efforts to address concerns about the impacts of mining or other developments on trans-boundary waters.

Some activists in Alaska do not feel this approach goes far enough to address those concerns. Bennett says it’s not the end of the work that needs to be done.


2 p.m.

The coalition Salmon Beyond Borders is expressing frustration with a cooperative agreement signed by Alaska Gov. Bill Walker and British Columbia Premier Christy Clark.

Salmon Beyond Borders director Heather Hardcastle said in a release that tribes, municipal leaders, fishing groups and other Alaskans have been working to provide input to the state on ways to protect trans-boundary waters amid mining development in Canada. She said it’s hard not to feel blindsided by the news that a memorandum of agreement had been signed.

The nonbinding agreement calls for the state and province to work together on issues of shared interest, including the protection of trans-boundary waters.

Salmon Beyond Borders has been called for an international commission to review the planned mine developments and how they could impact Alaska’s downstream waters.


11:55 a.m.

Gov. Bill Walker and British Columbia Premier Christy Clark have signed a cooperative agreement, committing to work together on issues of shared interest, including the ongoing discussion over Canadian mining impacts on Alaska waters.

The non-binding memorandum of understanding was signed Wednesday.

In a release, Walker said it’s important the state foster good relationships with its trading partners and neighbors as it works to improve its economy.

Clark said the province and Alaska have a long history of working together. She says the memorandum provides for more collaboration to ensure the protection, conservation and enhancement of the shared environment and a better future for residents.

The memorandum comes as the two sides look at ways to address Alaska concerns about the impact of Canadian mining on waters flowing into the state.

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