The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is hosting public hearings on the environmental review for Pebble Limited Partnership’s proposed mine in the Bristol Bay watershed. The corps conducted a fast-tracked environmental review with a short (90-day) public input period. The onus is now on Bristol Bay residents and other stakeholders to provide input just one month after the release of the draft Environmental Impact Statement.
The first of nine hearings was held Monday, March 25, in Naknek. Bristol Bay residents, fishermen and stakeholders are expected to express their concerns about the project and the review, including many individuals traveling from communities where hearings are not being held.
Meanwhile, Pebble executives are in Juneau presenting their plan to the Alaska State House Resources Committee.
“This just goes to show where Pebble’s priorities really are: with politicians in Juneau rather than the people in Bristol Bay,” said United Tribes of Bristol Bay Board President Robert Heyano, a 2013 National Fisherman Highliner. “More than a decade ago, Pebble told many of our Tribes that if we didn’t want a mine here, the company would abandon the project. But despite clear opposition, stated time and again, PLP continues to push this project forward. Back home in Bristol Bay, our people are going to be making it clear to Pebble and the Army Corps: This mine is not wanted, and the USACE did a sad job of assessing the mine’s impacts on our people, cultures and economies. It is time for our elected leaders to step in and stop the Corps from forcing this project through.”
The agency is holding seven public hearings in Bristol Bay and two in Southcentral Alaska as part of the national public comment period on the draft EIS open through May 30. Thousands of Alaskans have already submitted written comments detailing the major flaws in the draft EIS.
Hearings are scheduled through mid-April:
March 25: Naknek
3:30 – 7 p.m. at Bristol Bay Borough School
March 26: Kokhanok
3:30 – 7 p.m. at the Old School/Bingo Hall
March 27: Newhalen
3:30 – 7 p.m. at Newhalen School
March 28: Igiugig
3:30 – 7 p.m. at Igiugig School
March 29: New Stuyahok
1 – 5 p.m. at the CQ Building
April 8: Nondalton
3:30 – 7 p.m. at the Community Center
April 9: Dillingham
4 – 9 p.m. at Dillingham Elementary School
April 11: Homer
4 – 9 p.m. at Homer High School
April 16: Anchorage
Noon – 8 p.m. at the Dena’ina Center