• 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

  • Sports

    Globetrotters coach a UAA basketball coach

    by Dave Leval on Apr 29, 22:03

    It was a mutual admiration’s society, Thursday morning, on the court at Alaska Airlines Center. The Harlem Globetrotters stopped by for an arranged media gathering and in the process also coached the coach. UAA women’s basketball head coach Ryan McCarthy received a few tips from the Globetrotters before deciding whether or not he should join […]

  • Politics

    Could Alaska choose the republican presidential nominee? It’s possible.

    by Liz Raines on Apr 29, 21:53

    It’s an exciting weekend for hundreds of Alaska Republicans at the state GOP convention in Fairbanks. The delegates chosen there could play a key role in the national convention in Cleveland this summer. It all stems from the local party’s last-minute decision to let Marco Rubio keep the five delegates he won in Alaska during […]

  • Lifestyle

    AK Mission of Mercy offers free dental care to those in need

    by Lauren Maxwell on Apr 29, 20:47

    Not everyone likes to go to the dentist, but hundreds of people were feeling grateful after they got the chance to go Friday. That’s because their dental care was free at an event called AK Mission of Mercy. More than 500 people showed up at the Dena’ina Center to get everything from teeth cleanings to […]

  • Lifestyle

    World-class musician tests out Anchorage’s first world-class Bosendorfer piano

    by Heather Hintze on Apr 29, 19:41

    When you have a world-class piano it only makes sense to have a world-class musician test it out. A viewer called KTVA to tell us Classic Pianos, in Government Hill, had its first ever Bosendorfer piano. It’s hand-made in Austria and retails for $125,000. Lithuanian musician Edvinas Minkstimas happened to be in Anchorage for a […]

  • News

    A dedicated crew keeps remote radar site running

    by Bonney Bowman on Apr 29, 19:24

    In Alaska’s most remote corners, 15 Long Range Radar Sites (LRRS) scan the skies looking for threats. It takes a small, but dedicated force to keep these Cold War-era sites up and running. “We’re only 11 pilots here that do this particular job.” Those 11 pilots fly two C12 planes to all the radar sites […]

  • Lifestyle

    The Hungry Chum: Harvest pop-up restaurant is a foraged feast

    by The Hungry Chum on Apr 29, 17:25

    We sat beneath a chandelier made of wine bottles in the middle of the bar. I was eagerly awaiting our eight-course feast. I was skeptical. The tickets sport a $110 price tag, yet I reserved judgment. My dining partner and fellow writer, Wanderer and I were inside Crush, a wine bistro in downtown Anchorage, but […]

  • Lifestyle

    First drug for delusions in Parkinson’s patients approved

    by Associated Press on Apr 29, 15:20

    WASHINGTON (AP) – Federal health officials have approved an experimental drug to treat psychotic delusions and behaviors that often afflict patients with Parkinson’s disease, the debilitating movement disorder. The drug from Acadia Pharmaceuticals Inc. is the first drug for the condition, which affects approximately half of Parkinson’s patients. An estimated 50,000 Americans are diagnosed with […]

  • Sports

    Iditarod bans Travis Beals entry into 2017 race, says it will review regulations

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Apr 29, 11:51

    Musher Travis Beals will not be allowed to race in the 2017 Iditarod, according to a statement released by the Iditarod Trail Committee (ITC) Friday. Beals will also not be allowed future entry into the Iditarod for an “indefinite period of time beyond 2017,” pending his completion of a court-mandated treatment program. “The Iditarod Trail Committee […]