Alannah Hurley, (907) 843-1633 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Friday, Aug. 31, 2018
Final Pebble Mine Scoping Report Lacks Integrity
DILLINGHAM, AK – The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) released a “final” report today on the scoping process surrounding the proposed Pebble Mine. The 37-page report merely skims the major issues raised about the Pebble Limited Partnership (PLP)’s application to build a toxic mine at the headwaters of Bristol Bay’s fishery, and does not do justice to the concerns raised by concerned citizens and cooperating agencies alike. Indeed, the report itself is a mere collection of bulleted lists that offer no indication to the reader as to how environmental impacts will be analyzed, how the Army Crops will address community members’ concerns, or even who offered testimony or commented on particular issues.
The Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) is responsible for preparing an environmental impact statement (EIS) on the mine project as part of the Clean Water Act 404(c) Dredge and Fill permit application process. Typically, the scoping report provides an overview of the issues that will be covered in the draft EIS – but if this report is any indication, the draft EIS for Pebble will be an inadequate review that ignores local and professional concerns about the project.
This spring, more than 200 Bristol Bay residents attended scoping hearings, and more provided written testimony, all detailing grave and specific concerns about the project. Cooperating agencies also submitted substantive comments regarding the application. But the scoping report published this week does not reflect the breadth of unique comments regarding specific issues with PLP’s permit application, showing that the USACE is more interested in pushing the project forward than reviewing it fairly. This current effort by the USACE pales in comparison to the work done by the same agency for the federal review of the Donlin Mine, where the USACE published a comprehensive scoping report that clearly detailed the issue raised by community members in the region.
“The scoping report is just the latest example of how the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is steamrolling local communities and stream-lining Pebble’s incomplete application at unprecedented speeds, despite the science being crystal clear that this type of mine is too destructive for the headwaters of the last great sockeye salmon fishery in the world, which produced a record-breaking return of more than 62 million sockeye this year. This so-called ‘report’ is a shining example of the USACE ignoring socio-economic, cultural, and scientific concerns about the toxic project,” said UTBB Board President Robert Heyano. “We need elected leaders like Sen. Lisa Murkowski to call for a halt to this process until the USACE commits to a fair and thorough review.”
The United Tribes of Bristol Bay is a tribal consortium representing 15 Bristol Bay tribal governments (that represent over 80 percent of the region’s total population) working to protect the Yup’ik, Dena’ina, and Alutiiq way of life in Bristol Bay.