• Forecast
  • News Tip
  • Categories
Temperature Precipitation
Estimated read time
2m 46s

Proposed regulations could block Pebble Mine

By Bonney Bowman 3:43 PM July 18, 2014
ANCHORAGE –

A new proposal by the EPA could block the development of a mine in Bristol Bay.

The regulations are meant to protect the region from the effects of copper mining, but opponents say the EPA is overstepping its bounds.

The EPA says a mine, like the one proposed by the Pebble Partnership, would jeopardize the fishing industry in Bristol Bay.

The Pebble Partnership says while they’re glad the EPA didn’t veto the project outright, they haven’t even applied for permits yet and they think the agency is being preemptive.

The proposed regulations limit the impact mining can have on wetlands and streams salmon rely on to reach their spawning grounds.

It would restrict mining activity that results in the loss of five or more miles of stream salmon use, the loss of 1,100 or more acres of wetlands connected to those streams and limits stream flow alterations.

The fishing industry in Bristol Bay is worth hundreds of millions of dollars each year and supports Alaska Native communities.

The EPA says a mine, like the one the Pebble Partnership presented to potential investors, would be larger then Manhattan and almost as deep as the Grand Canyon.

But Pebble leaders say the EPA should have waited until the group presented a formal plan and entered the permitting process to make a decision about its impact.

“We’re kind of in a catch-22 in that people say ‘well, we want to see your plan but we also don’t want to rush one out the door.’ We want to make sure we have the opportunity to present a responsible plan to Alaskans, given the intense interest in our project,” said Mike Heatwole, Pebble Partnership vice president of public affairs.

The Pebble Partnership and the state of Alaska are currently engaged in a legal battle with the EPA about whether or not the agency can place conditions on the project before permits are filed.

But for the tribes living in Bristol Bay, this proposal is a long time coming. They say they’re overjoyed by the agency’s decision to prevent catastrophic damage to the pristine ecosystem so many people rely on for survival.

“We were very, very concerned about metallic sulfide mining and how it would affect the watershed, how it would affect the world’s largest sockeye salmon run left on the face of the planet,” said United Tribes of Bristol Bay representative Alannah Hurley.

The EPA’s guidelines are just a proposal at this point. You can still weigh in.

The agency will be holding public hearings the week of August 11. Oral and written comments on EPA’s proposal will be accepted at the following hearings:

  • Anchorage: Tuesday, Aug. 12 at 2 p.m.
Egan Center – Cook and Artegan Rooms
  • New Stuyahok Wednesday, Aug. 13 at 5 p.m.
Cetuyaraq Community Center
  • Nondalton: Wednesday, Aug. 13 at 5 p.m.
Nondalton Community Center
  • Kokhanok: Thursday, Aug. 14, 5 p.m.
Location to be announced
  • Dillingham: Thursday, Aug. 14 at 5 p.m.
Middle School Gymnasium
  • Iliamna: Friday, Aug. 15 at 12 p.m.
Community Center
  • Igiugig: Friday, Aug. 15 at 12 p.m.
Tribal Hall

Comments can also be submitted online through Sept. 19. Based on what they hear from you, the EPA will then take another look at the proposal.

Latest Stories

  • News

    Middle school energy efficiency competition has its rewards

    by Rhonda McBride on Dec 18, 12:04

    There were no losers in the “2014 Power Pledge Challenge,” a competition sponsored by Chugach Electric and the Renewable Energy Alaska Project, mainly because finding ways to save energy is always a win-win. About 1,200 seventh-graders in the Anchorage School District took part. They were armed with information about what causes energy inefficiencies and were told […]

  • Crime

    Mat-Su heroin trafficking investigation leads to arrests, drug seizures

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Dec 18, 11:40

    Two people are in custody and $400,000 worth of heroin was seized after authorities launched an investigation into heroin trafficking in the Mat-Su Valley, authorities say. Tuesday, a federal grand jury indicted 37-year-old Seneca Neal of Anchorage and 40-year-old Lamon Washington of Fairbanks for heroin distribution and conspiracy to distribute more than a kilogram of the […]

  • Sports

    Alaskan coaching legend returns to old stomping ground

    by KTVA Sports on Dec 18, 11:06

    Basketball coach Chuck White, who earned 18 state titles in Alaska, returned to the place where he earned his reputation as one of the foremost teachers of high school basketball. People packed the gym for an annual alumni game Wednesday that tipped off the Thunderbirds Classic Tournament at East High School.

  • News

    Hose failure blamed for gas that sickened soldiers

    by Associated Press on Dec 18, 10:35

    Army investigators in Alaska have concluded that a corroded vent hose on a field stove led to a buildup of carbon monoxide that sickened 23 soldiers during a September exercise. Lt. Col. Alan Brown tells the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner (http://bit.ly/1GVgjkp) that the toxic gas came from a gas-fueled oven used to heat trays of food […]

  • DayBreak

    Police on the look-out for impaired drivers this holiday season

    by Daybreak Staff on Dec 18, 9:34

    Holiday celebrations are in full swing, and often times they involve alcohol. Anchorage Police are ramping up efforts to catch impaired drivers and will be conducting more than 500 hours of enforcement over the next two weeks. Police ask those behind the wheel to report any dangerous drivers. ”As a citizen if you see any type […]

  • News

    A friend remembers Irma Williams

    by Alexis Fernandez on Dec 18, 8:28

    Earlier this week, authorities charged Irma Williams’ ex-boyfriend Michael Memeo with murder and tampering with evidence in connection with her death. For Edna Iyatunguk, memories of the 54-year-old mother are still clear. “She was awesome, she was always laughing. We talked about a lot, just together, you know — friends, like we were sisters or […]

  • Weather

    Daybreak weather, Dec. 18

    by Brett Shepard on Dec 18, 7:52

    Skies will be mostly to partly cloudy today in Southcentral. In the Southeast rain and wind will be found over the southern half of the Panhandle with mostly to partly cloudy skies to the north. In the Interior skies will be mostly to partly sunny. On the North Slope skies will be mostly cloudy with […]

  • News

    Group to provide rural dog care in YK villages

    by Associated Press on Dec 18, 7:29

    A nonprofit veterinary group will provide free spay and neutering services for dogs in two Yukon-Kuskokwim villages this week. KYUK reports (http://is.gd/E1bPqX) the Alaska Native Rural Veterinary group will be in Tuntutuliak and Kongiganak on Wednesday and Thursday. Group leader Angie Fitch in Fairbanks says it’s too expensive for people in rural Alaska to fly […]