News Article

January 15, 2014

EPA’s Plagued Assessment Fails on Many Fronts

For Immediate Release 

January 15, 2014 

EPA’s Plagued Assessment Fails on Many Fronts 

Anchorage, AK – Pebble Partnership CEO John Shively had the following comment about the release of a final Bristol Bay assessment from the EPA: 

“We have maintained all along that the Bristol Bay watershed assessment process has been rushed and thus has resulted in two very flawed documents. We will have to review the final product to see how many, if any, of these fundamental problems raised by the Pebble Partnership, the State of Alaska, EPA’s peer reviewers and others have been addressed. The EPA has studied much smaller areas than Bristol Bay and taken considerably longer and committed considerably more resources to complete them. 

“It is a disappointing day when an agency charged with upholding a science based regulatory process ignores its own rules and regulations, and does not take the time nor expend the effort needed to fully assess impacts in the vast Bristol Bay region. We had higher expectations for the EPA. 

“It must be remembered that the report does not assess the effects of the Pebble Project as we have not finalized nor submitted a project for regulatory evaluation. The report is based upon a so-called ‘hypothetical mine’ of the EPA’s design. The hypothetical mines developed by EPA in their first two drafts did not employ the most advanced engineering and mining practices, as will most certainly be used at Pebble. 

“And it does not consider the critical environmental safeguards and modern mitigation that state and federal permitting will require for Pebble. Even then, the EPA has grossly over-estimated the effects of its under-engineered project. PLP has spent many years and $600 million dollars on engineering and environmental studies to develop a plan for a 21st century mine. We understand the critical role salmon plays in this region of Alaska, both culturally and commercially. This is why we have dedicated significant time and resources to our environmental studies program and why we have taken time to design a responsible project for developing the mineral resource at Pebble. 

“EPA did not take the time nor did it commit the financial resources to assess the potential impacts of development in an area the size of the state of Ohio. It is both a poorly conceived and poorly executed study, and it cannot serve as the scientific basis for any decisions concerning Pebble. We have noted throughout this process that the EPA has deviated from its own internal guidance for a report with ever changing objectives. 

“Unfortunately the real loss is for stakeholders, especially those in Southwest Alaska who are seeking ways to fully understand modern mining and the range of issues posed by possible development of Pebble. We had certainly hoped that EPA would depoliticize this process and come back to its legitimate and important role of evaluating this project based on the best available science, an evaluation which should take place in the very comprehensive permitting process established by federal law. Clearly this report should not be used as the basis for any type of agency decision regarding Pebble.” 

For more information contact: 

Mike Heatwole
Vice President, Public Affairs
907-339-2600 

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