Pebble Mine

Misty Nielsen

Political, business and tribal leaders from the Bristol Bay region welcomed the new EPA Administrator to Dillingham Tuesday. They called on the EPA to step in and stop development of the proposed Pebble Mine. KDLG’s Mike Mason has the story.

Listen to the FULL AUDIO from Tuesday's public meeting:

The new administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency is scheduled to visit the Bristol Bay region on Tuesday.

Sponsors of a ballot initiative to require legislative approval of large metal sulfide mining projects say they have enough signatures.  Upon approval from the state, the question would go to voters in next year’s primary election. If passed, the initiative would put the proposed Pebble Mine under scrutiny from Alaska’s elected officials.  KDLG’s Ben Matheson has the story:

The oversight committee in the U.S. House of Representatives is launching a probe into whether the idea of preemptively using section 404-C of the Clean Water Act to stop development of the Pebble Mine actually originated within the Environmental Protection Agency. KDLG’s Mike Mason has the details.

The deadline to submit comments to the federal government about protecting Iliamna Lake harbor seals is Friday at 8 p.m.  The National Marine Fisheries Service is determining whether the seals are a distinct population segment of pacific harbor seals.  If so, they could be listed as threatened or endangered under the Endangered Species Act.

Mysterious harbor seals are the latest point of contention in the Pebble mine debate as the government considers the possibility of listing Iliamna Lake Harbor Seals on the Endangered Species list. This comes after an environmental group put forth a petition urging the listing. They cite threats from ocean acidification, climate change, and the proposed Pebble Mine.  KDLG’s Ben Matheson has more on the freshwater seals at the center of the debate.

House Committee Discusses EPA Watershed Assessment

Aug 2, 2013
House Committe on Science, Space, and Technology

Bristol Bay and the Pebble Project continue to get attention on national and international stages. A BBC documentary program covered the issue and a Senate panel last week discussed the project at length.  On Thursday, a U.S. House Committee brought in a group of mining-associated panelists who tore into the EPA’s Bristol Bay Watershed Assessment.  KDLG's Ben Matheson has the story:

The EPA’s Bristol Bay Watershed Assessment and the idea of utilizing a section of the federal “Clean Water Act” to stop the proposed Pebble Mine came up during a U.S. Senate hearing on Tuesday. KDLG’s Mike Mason listened in and filed this report.

Alaska's Senators Ask for Pebble Mine Plan

Jul 23, 2013
begich.senate.gov

Alaska’s congressional delegation has been cautious about supporting the EPA’s Bristol Bay Watershed Assessment.  That document in part will guide the agency’s decision making about whether it allows the development of the proposed Pebble Mine.  Both of Alaska’s senators are calling for the Pebble Limited Partnership to be more forthcoming about their future plans. KDLG’s Ben Matheson has the story:

Senator Murkowski Asks for Pebble Mine Plan

Jul 19, 2013

The Pebble Partnership said in June that it wants to finalize its mine plan this year and begin long permitting process with state and federal agencies.  They said the same thing 9 years ago in 2004 and repeated it on an almost annual basis leading up to this year.

Senator Lisa Murkowski has stated that she wants the Pebble process to be allowed to play out and avoid any preemptive action by the EPA.

She’s apparently waited long enough and says now that the time has come for a full mine plan and a strict schedule. 

The EPA collected more than a half million comments in the second round about its Bristol Bay Watershed Assessment comment period. Opponents of the Pebble Mine claim that nearly 70 percept of the commenters support the assessment and are urging the EPA to stop the mine. KDLG’s Ben Matheson has more:

With a few days left of public comment on the EPA’s Bristol Bay Watershed Assessment, sustainable finance firms are chiming in on the issue. A group of 27 investors who represent 35 billion dollars in sustainable industry holdings are asking the EPA to begin a 404(c) review process, which could halt the mine’s development. They say it makes sense for the environment, as well as their bottom line.   

Rep. Rick Larson

More and more Democrats in Congress are coming out in opposition to allowing large scale mining to occur in the Bristol Bay region. KDLG’s Mike Mason has the story.

Northern Dynasty

For three more weeks, the EPA is collecting public comments on its revised Bristol Bay watershed assessment. The 1,300 page document examines the potential effects of a large mine located at the Pebble Prospect.  Northern Dynasty, a 50 percent owner of the project, has now submitted its highly critical comments, to the tune of 205 pages worth.  

Northern Dynasty says the EPA is premature to analyze a potential mine before the Pebble Partnership has released an actual plan for the mine. Sean McGee is Vice President of Public Affairs for Northern Dynasty.

The Pebble Limited Partnership has released a new study that seeks to define the potential economic and employment contributions of the proposed Pebble Mine. KDLG’s Mike Mason took a look at the new study and filed this report.

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