Officials with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers -Alaska District have agreed to extend until June 29 the public scoping period for an environmental impact statement for the proposed Pebble project, near the headwaters of the Bristol Bay watershed.
The corps’ decision came in the wake of letters from Alaska Department of Natural Resources Commissioner Andy Mack and Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, that the initial 30-day scoping period was insufficient for a project of this magnitude and potential impact.
Murkowski said she had been contacted by a number of constituents about the 30-day scoping period. “I strongly encourage you to consider their concerns not just in the context of the initial scoping period, but holistically as you conduct the various stages of the process,” she told Brooks.
Murkowski also said it was her understanding that 35 tribes had been invited to consult throughout the review and decision-making process, but that no Alaska Native corporation consultations had been initiated. “While the corps is not required to make such consultations, in this instance it would be valuable given the scope of the proposal and the ability of the ANCs to offer regional perspective and voice to indigenous Alaskans who may not be tribal members,” she said.
Mack noted that the open pit mine would lie in close proximity to the headwaters of the world’s largest wild salmon fishery, which supports communities and subsistence activities in that region year-round. Due to the potential adverse impact of the proposed project, a 30-day scoping process is likely insufficient for the public to identify, and the Corps to address, issues of concern, studies needed and alternatives to be examined, Mack said.
Scoping input may be entered directly into the project website at www.pebbleprojeteis.com, by mail to U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Alaska District, Program Manager, Regulatory Division, ATTN:DA Permit Application 2017-271, Pebble Limited Partnership, P.O. Box 6898, Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska 99506-0898,or at public meetings via directly into provided computers, handing in written comment, or speaking to a court reporter.
More information regarding the evaluation of DA Permit application POA-2017-271 is online at https://www.pebbleprojecteios.com