With the proposed Donlin Gold Mine appearing like a truer and nearer reality, the City of Bethel is looking at transforming into an organized borough. At Tuesday’s meeting Bethel City Council voted to give City Manager Ann Capela the go-ahead into mapping out the process.
Capela said, as a borough, Bethel would have greater control over land use and could tax Donlin Gold.
“The City of Bethel will have many, many of the impacts from this industry with no financial benefits. And there is no mechanism for the city, currently, at this time, to go and make them come to the table,” Capela said.
As a borough, Bethel would have more leverage holding Donlin Gold responsible if damages occurred and creating demands for emergency mitigation.
Morphing into an organized borough would be hugely complicated, and Capela estimates the process would take three years, about the same time Donlin needs to gather its necessary permits.