Pebble Mine Backers Budget $80 Million For 2013 Work

A revised scientific assessment of how large-scale mining
could potentially affect water quality and salmon ecosystems in the Bristol Bay
watershed is due out this spring from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
The study of the watershed, home of one of the world’s largest salmon
populations, was launched in response to petitions from federally recognized
tribes and others worried about how large-scale mining could impact Bristol Bay
The mining industry, meanwhile, with an eye on the area’s
significant mineral resources, has continued to attack the EPA study. In its
latest bulletin, the Pebble Limited Partnership alleges that the EPA actions
are targeted on the Pebble deposit 

through an unlawful reading of section 404c of the Clean Water Act. If
successful, writes PLP chief executive officer John Shively, in the Denver
Business Journal, “the effort by the EPA, fueled by activist groups, to
radically redefine the established permitting process poses a threat to
Colorado’s mining industry and could trigger a regulatory crisis across the
Four days later, on April 22, the PLP announced an $80
million budget for 2013, for ongoing environmental studies with a focus on fish
habitat and water quality, continued engineering analysis and workforce and
business development initiatives to finalize a project description. The focus
of this year’s work plan is to complete a comprehensive, multi-year development
plan with the goal to initiate permitting before year’s end under the National
Environmental policy Act, the PLP said.
The majority of residents of the Bristol Bay region in
Southwest Alaska are opposed to the mine, as are a number of fisheries
biologists, environmental groups, and others representing commercial, sport and
subsistence fish harvesters.
Their concern is that the mine will adversely affect fish
habitat, which is critical to thousands of people employed in or otherwise
dependent upon these fisheries.
The PLP maintains that it can develop and operate the mine
without doing damage to the watershed.
In a continuing effort to educate people about the
importance of Alaska’s wild salmon, the Renewable Resources Foundation this
week announced that tickets are on sale for Salmonstock 2013, a three-day music
festival at Ninilchik, Alaska, to celebrate Alaska’s wild salmon and the people
who depend on them. Salmonstock, a fund raiser to protect salmon habitat, will
run Aug. 2-4 at the Kenai Peninsula Fairgrounds. Information on Salmonstock is