Pebble Panels Set For Look at Mining Data in Anchorage in October

Panel discussions on fish, wildlife and habitat, and much more
related to the proposed Pebble copper, gold and molybdenum mine in Southwest Alaska
are slated for early October in Anchorage.
They are being facilitated by the Colorado-based Keystone Center,
which was hired by the Pebble Limited Partnership to convene a series of what are
billed as independent science panels to review and evaluate data on the mine, Advocates
of the mine remain firm in their stance that the massive project at the headwaters
of the Bristol Bay watershed can operate in harmony with the world’s largest sockeye
salmon fishery. Opponents say the mine stands to have adverse, possibly devastating
effects on the habitat of this multi-million dollar fishery, which is critical to
commercial, sport and subsistence interests.
The panel discussions come as the Environmental Protection Agency
is evaluating its draft report, in the wake of much public comment, to determine
whether large- scale mining at this location could damage the fishery.
Critics of the EPA study, mostly representing businesses involved
in resource extraction in Alaska, have alleged that the EPA study was rushed, flawed
and based only on a theoretical mine project. The EPA began its study at the request
of a group of Bristol Bay residents, fishermen and conservationists.
Both sides have continued to argue their points in a steady stream
of television ads.
The Pebble Limited Partnership also hired an international consulting
firm, Knight Piesold, which assessed the EPA’s draft report as a fundamentally flawed
Alaska fisheries scientist Carol Ann Woody, who has extensive
field experience in the Bristol Bay region, took a different stance. “My review
of the Pebble Limited Partnership is they only released selected information and
what they have released is hard to review because it is not in an acceptable format,”
she said.
What the PLP needs to do is get its study published and that
would involve peer review, she said.