New Public Hearings Underway on Permitting
Pebble Mine

Public hearings are being held in the Bristol Bay region and Southcentral Alaska through April 16 as part of the national public comment period on the draft environmental impact statement for the proposed Pebble mine near the Bristol Bay watershed in Southwest Alaska.

Thirty-one of the 33 people who testified at the first hearing at Naknek on Monday, March 25, spoke in opposition to the mine. Among them was Bristol Bay harvester Martin Speak of Seattle, Wash. He told the US Army Corps of Engineers “it is complete folly to think you can contain these proposed massive tailing ponds,” citing the Mt. Polley mine disaster in British Columbia as an example. “To date, nobody is being held responsible for that disaster, and they’re telling us this time they’re getting it right,” he added.

Commercial harvester Everett Thompson of Naknek said he saw a lot of language in the draft EIS like “not expected to” or “unlikely” in response to fishermen’s concerns. He said he saw no seismic analysis that gives him certainty that something catastrophic won’t happen to the mine, nor a reclamation plan that he trusts, knowing that many mines change ownership and end in bankruptcy and superfund sites.

Another meeting was held yesterday in Kokhanok and today’s hearing is in Newhalen. Others are scheduled for

• March 28 in Igiugig

• March 29 in New Stuyahok

• April 8 in Nondalton

• April 9 in Dillingham

• April 11 in Homer and

• April 16 in Anchorage

The current deadline for all comments is May 30. According to John Budnik, public affairs specialist with the US Army Corps of Engineers, no decision has been made yet on whether to extend that 90-day deadline beyond that date.
Comments may be mailed to:

USACE Alaska District, Attn: DA Permit Application 2017-271, Pebble Limited Partnership, 645 G Street Suite 100-921, Anchorage, Alaska 99501

Further information is available at