On Tuesday, Feb. 20, Alaska’s Department of Natural Resources received a record number of comments in response to a state permit application. The Pebble Limited Partnership’s permit renewal request would allow the company to continue exploratory drilling at the headwaters of Alaska’s Bristol Bay. Those 1,400+ comments ask the state to press the mining company to clean up sites it has drilled in its exploration program near the prolific salmon-producing watershed.
“Alaskans have been clear: This project is not welcome in Bristol Bay. We are asking the state not to allow further degradation to our land, water, and all it sustains,” said Robert Heyano, board president of the United Tribes of Bristol Bay. “The record number of Alaskans weighing in on a state permit shows unity around the state for these protections. Here in Bristol Bay, we are thankful for every Alaskan who stands with us as we demand clean water and land for future generations.”
Last year, more than a thousand Alaskans asked the state to hold the company accountable for the effects of exploration in Bristol Bay. The state applied restrictions to the company's efforts — a first since exploration began in 2001. In the fall, Alaska DNR inspections cited additional work at some of Pebble’s more than 1,300 boreholes.
Alaskans who weighed in during the most recent comment period hope the state will again respond favorably to their request for protection of Bristol Bay.