Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Comment Period on Pebble Project Extended

Under pressure from the state of Alaska and Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, the US Army Corps of Engineers has extended its public scoping period on a draft environmental impact statement on the proposed Pebble project to June 29.

The decision to extend the comment period for an additional 60 days came on April 6, in the wake of letters from Alaska Natural Resources Commissioner Andrew Mack and Murkowski, who told Col. Michael Brooks, commander of the Corps Alaska District, that a 30-day scoping period was insufficient.

Scoping input is now invited for entry directly into the project website at The proposed open-pit copper-gold-molybdenum mine, with associated infrastructure, would be located in Southwest Alaska, within the Bristol Bay watershed, home of the world’s largest run of wild sockeye salmon.

“Due to the size and potential impact of the proposed mine, a 30-day scoping process is likely insufficient for the public to identify, and the USACE to address issues of concern, studies that are needed and alternatives to be examined,” said Alaska Natural Resources Commissioner Andrew Mack in his March 28 letter to Col. Michael Brooks, commander of the US Army Corps of Engineers Alaska District.

Mack specifically described the project as “an open pit mine, a mile across, near the headwaters of the most prolific salmon fishery in the world.”

Murkowski told Brooks that she has remained officially neutral on large scale mineral development in the Bristol Bay region and supports allowing the Pebble Limited Partnership to apply for a Clean Water Act permit without what she labeled “preemptive restrictions” from the EPA.

Still now that the federal review process has begun, “we must ensure that all relevant stakeholders are given ample opportunity to consider the information provided, as well as sufficient opportunity and forum to provide comment on it,” she told Brooks.

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