A U.S. Environmental Protection Agency decision to look further into the potential destructive impacts of the proposed Pebble Mine is drawing more fire from mine proponents and more support from those concerned about adverse impact.
The Pebble Limited Partnership in Anchorage, the principal asset of Northern Dynasty Minerals Ltd., of Vancouver, British Columbia, has responded with criticism to the EPA’s decision to initiate a regulatory process under Section 404© of the Clean Water Act to identify options to protect the Bristol Bay sockeye salmon fishery from potentially destructive impacts of the open pit mine.
The PLP is calling on the EPA to suspend the 404© regulatory process, to wait for submission of a proposed development plan for Pebble, and to participate in the National Environmental Policy Act permitting process to come, said Tom Collier, recently named as chief executive officer of the PLP.
Collier contends that despite three years of study went toward completion of the EPA’s Bristol Bay Watershed Assessment document, the EPA hasn’t quantified any impact of any of its speculative mine scenarios on any fishery in Bristol Bay. “On that basis alone, EPA simply hasn’t demonstrated that mineral development at Pebble will have an unacceptable adverse effect on the region’s fisheries, and so doesn’t have the regulatory authority to veto future development,” Collier said in a letter to the EPA on April 29.
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