Having produced the report, the USACE now begins developing the draft environmental impact statement, which should be released in January 2019. That release will be followed by another public comment period, with the final EIS anticipated to be out in late 2019, according to the corps.
The report has drawn criticism from Commercial Fishermen for Bristol Bay and United Tribes of Bristol Bay.
In a statement released on September 4, Mike Friccero, of Kodiak, Alaska, a representative for Bristol Bay Commercial Fishermen and president of the Bristol Bay Regional Seafood Development Association, points out that based on the corps’ scoping report it is clear that “this administration has no interest in conducting an honest review of the impacts that the Pebble mine would have on Bristol Bay’s salmon and the people who depend on it. If they did, then they would not have produced such a cursory report that omits thousands of comments, including that of expert scientists and commercial fishermen.”
“The scoping report is just the latest example of how the US Army Corps of Engineers is steamrolling local communities and streamlining Pebble’s incomplete application at unprecedented speeds, despite the science being crystal clear that this type of mine is too destructive for the headwaters of the last great sockeye salmon fishery in the world, which produced a record-breaking return of more than 62 million sockeye this year,” said Robert Heyano, president of UTBB, a tribal consortium representing 15 Bristol Bay tribal governments, which comprise over 80 percent of the region’s population.
Bristol Bay fishermen had asked that the analysis consider the socioeconomic impacts for their communities in Alaska, California, Oregon, Washington and other states, as the fishery draws harvesters nationwide. There is no mention of this analysis in either the fishery impacts or socioeconomic sections.
“Residents of lower Bristol Bay and the Alaska Peninsula communities had also asked the USACE to consider the downstream impacts, both to the fishery resource and the fishery economy, but these comments are not mentioned in either the fishery impacts or socioeconomic impacts sections of the report,” Heyano added.
The complete scoping report and further details about the corps’ timeline on related work can be viewed online at https://pebbleprojecteis.com.