October 18, 2019

Pro, con, and "waiting for the science"

As federal permitting for the Pebble project continues, so does media attention, including recent features in Science magazine, The Nation, and the TODAY Show. Locally, the project has been a source of hopes, fears and frustration for 15+ years. So where do Alaskans stand, and what do our legislators and state leaders have to say? From Bristol Bay to our Alaska delegation, here are some insights:

Alaska delegation 
In September Senator Lisa Murkowski called for federal agencies to use their discretionary authorities to ensure the full protection of the Bristol Bay region if they are not “satisfied with the Army Corps’ analysis of the project," to include EPA's authority under the Clean Water Act to veto the project. This language was included in the Senate’s 2020 Appropriations Bill (p 87), which called for all gaps and deficiencies in the Corps' Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) to be fully addressed, even if that requires more scientific study and comprehensive analysis. 
Senator Dan Sullivan is also focused on the science, noting that the EPA and the Department of the Interior had submitted many  comments to the Corps that were highly critical of the draft EIS. "The burden of proof is now on Pebble and the Corps to substantially address these concerns based on science as required by federal law. This is a high bar and as I’ve repeatedly said, we can’t trade one resource for the other in that region.” – Senate Commerce, Science & Transportation Hearing - September 25, 2019
Representative Don Young has stated that the project must go through the permitting process, and that science will determine if it should be permitted or not. He has most recently spoken out in favor of EPA's action to rescind its proposed restrictions in Bristol Bay. He also spoke against an amendment to an appropriations bill in the House of Representatives designed to stop the Pebble permitting process by blocking funding for the Corps. (That amendment passed the House, but was not taken up by the Senate.)

October 21 – Deadline for public comment on proposed changes to EPA Clean Water Act Section 401, related to rights of states and Tribes to protect wetlands.

October 23 – Hearing in the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure. "The Pebble Mine Project: Process and Potential Impacts." 10 a.m. Eastern.

October 24 – Deadline for EPA to submit a “will affect” letter to the Corps. This letter would retain EPA’s option of elevating a Corps decision on a 404 permit to a higher level if the EPA disagrees with it.

October/November – The Corps anticipates that it will determine the LEDPA (Least Environmentally Damaging Practicable Alternative) for the mine project.

November 2019 – Anticipated release date of proposed rule change for Clean Water Act Section 404(c). Among other changes, EPA seeks to limit its own authority to invoke Section 404(c) before or after a project is permitted. A pubic input period will follow publication of the proposed rule.

First Quarter 2020 – The Corps anticipates release of its Final Environmental Impact Statement, with a Record of Decision to follow within 60 days.
Learn more about deposits like Pebble
The Alaska Miners Association is offering a 2-day course (Nov 3 and 4) in Anchorage on the "Geology of Porphyry CU-MO-AU Deposits." It is held in conjunction with AMA's 80th annual convention, and is open to the public. The fee is $500. Get more info and register at the AMA website.
Become a Citizen Scientist/Archivist 
Help transcribe sea ice and weather observations from the logbooks of military vessels that sailed Arctic seas in the 19th and 20th century. This information is used to improve climate and sea ice data sets used by scientists every day.

Citizen Archivist Mission
Help transcribe historic documents for the National Archives, including memoranda and reports related to outdoor recreation studies in Alaska, 1974-1980.
Pebble Watch is a program of the Bristol Bay Native Corporation Land Department.
Learn more at

Copyright © 2017, Bristol Bay Native Corporation, All rights reserved.

Our mailing address is:
 111 W 16th Ave, Ste 400 Anchorage, Alaska

Want to change how you receive these emails?
You can update your preferences or unsubscribe from this list.

This email was sent to <<Email Address>>
why did I get this?    unsubscribe from this list    update subscription preferences
BBNC Land Department · 111 West 16th Avenue · Suite 400 · Anchorage, AK 99501 · USA

Email Marketing Powered by Mailchimp