JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHARDSON - The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers - Alaska District is extending the public comment period an additional 30-days for the Pebble Limited Partnership draft environmental impact statement.

The deadline for submitting comments about the draft EIS is now June 29. The Corps will consider all comments received by that date before finalizing the document and making a permit decision. The extension brings the length of the public comment period to 120-days.

During April, the Corps conducted nine public hearings in Alaska to receive comment on the permit application and draft EIS in Anchorage, Dillingham, Homer, Igiugig, Kokhanok, Naknek, New Halen, New Stuyahok, and Nondalton. To date, about 8,400 public comments have been uploaded to the EIS website with more incoming.

More inside

“A thirty-day extension is yet another example in this corrupt “process” that shows Murkowski and the USACE are committed to green lighting Pebble Mine’s permit at the expense of Alaskans, fishermen, and the last great sockeye salmon fishery in the world,” said United Tribes of Bristol Bay Executive Director Alannah Hurley. "The science has already proven this mine cannot safely coexist with salmon. It’s time to stop this process until our leaders are committed to the fair, rigorous and scientific process to evaluate this mine that they have been touting all along. This extension is inadequate and like this entire 'process', does not meet the needs of our tribes and rural communities.”

The sport fishing industry was no more optimistic about the move.

Thirty days is so little as to be essentially meaningless. The DEIS is infested with inaccuracies and inadequacies. Real leadership would have been a call to go back to drawing board and stop this sham of a process,” said Brian Kraft of Katmai Service Providers and Owner of Alaska Sportsman’s Lodge. “30 days does nothing to change the fact that pebble’s 20-year mine plan is a lie, and that Pebble’s application is incomplete and the Draft Environmental Impact Statement is merely a skeleton of a review. The DEIS is missing both critical baseline data, and the true magnitude of the duration and range of impacts Pebble would have on our fishery. Giving us 30 extra days to review the document will not make up for these gaps.”

 

“An extra 30 days does nothing to change the fact that Pebble’s federal permitting process is fundamentally flawed, including a Draft EIS with unacceptable information gaps. There is not enough real substance in the Draft EIS to warrant this process moving forward any further, which is why Bristol Bay’s commercial fishermen continue to request that the Army Corps suspend this process until our questions and concerns are addressed,” said Commercial Fishermen for Bristol Bay representative and local resident Holly Wysocki.  “We risk our lives fishing each summer in Bristol Bay; the least we deserve is a fair and rigorous permitting process.”

 

“If the Army Corps was actually serious about including Bristol Bay’s fishing industry in the EIS process, then they would have granted the request for a 270 day comment period instead of ending it during the busiest month of the year. Anyone who understands Alaska knows that June is when Bristol Bay’s fishermen, seafood processors, and local residents are focused on getting our boats, nets, and plants ready for the return of 40 million sockeye salmon. We are all slammed." Ben Blakey, President of Northline Fisheries.

“A thirty-day extension is yet another example in this corrupt ‘process’ that shows Murkowski and the USACE are committed to green lighting Pebble Mine’s permit at the expense of Alaskans, fishermen, and the last great sockeye salmon fishery in the world,” said United Tribes of Bristol Bay Executive Director Alannah Hurley. “The science has already proven this mine cannot safely coexist with salmon. It’s time to stop this process until our leaders are committed to the fair, rigorous and scientific process to evaluate this mine that they have been touting all along. This extension is inadequate and like this entire ‘process’, does not meet the needs of our tribes and rural communities.”

The Corps released the draft EIS on Feb.20 with the formal public comment period beginning March 1. Since January 2018, the Corps has made Pebble Limited Partnership's permit application to discharge fill material into waters of the United States and work in navigable waters for the purpose of developing a copper-molybdenum-gold mine project in the Bristol Bay region of Alaska publically available on the EIS website. Also, baseline data for the environmental analysis has been available since March 2018.

Comments can be electronically submitted on the public website: https://www.pebbleprojecteis.com; or written comments mailed to:

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Alaska District

ATTN: DA Permit Application 2017-271, Pebble Limited Partnership

645 G Street Suite 100-921

Anchorage, Alaska 99501

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