AK Congress Blog Pebble Mine

Led by CA rep, 53 lawmakers ask Army Corps to “block the proposed Pebble Mine.” Alaska’s US congressman, two senators remain silent.

Huffman, 53 Lawmakers to Army Corps of Engineers: Block the Proposed Pebble Mine

Controversial mining proposal instantly threatens the Bristol Bay watershed—its individuals, its salmon, and the multimillion-dollar nationwide fishing business it helps

Washington, D.C.- The USA Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) shouldn’t allow the proposed Pebble Mine to destroy hundreds of acres of wetlands in Alaska and threaten the most beneficial wild salmon fishery in the world, urged Consultant Jared Huffman (D-San Rafael) and 53 other Members of Congress in a letter sent immediately.

“The Pebble Mine directly threatens indigenous peoples, our maritime economy, and thousands of American jobs that rely on Bristol Bay,” wrote the lawmakers in at this time’s letter. “We urge the USACE to listen to the tribes, village corporations, commercial fishermen, hunters, anglers, and those whose lives and livelihoods depend on the integrity of the Bristol Bay watershed, and we urge the USACE to deny the permit for the Pebble Mine.”

The construction of the Pebble Mine, a big open-pit copper and gold mine proposed for the Bristol Bay watershed, would threaten the native communities and businesses that depend on salmon and a healthy ecosystem, put in danger Alaska Native tribes and their lifestyle, and hurt 14,000 jobs and $1.5 billion in financial exercise throughout the nation associated with the business salmon fishing business. The region additionally helps different very important economic sectors, together with sport fishing/searching, tourism, and recreation.

At this time’s congressional comment letter criticizes the Army Corps’ inadequate draft environmental influence assertion for failing to handle reasonably-foreseeable impacts of the Pebble Mine on Bristol Bay fisheries, communities, public lands, and cultures; for disregarding considerations about Pebble’s unprecedented water remedy plan; and for ignoring impacts associated with absolutely creating the Pebble Mine.

The Pebble Mine is opposed by a broad coalition including Alaska Native tribes, business fishermen, sportsmen, businesses, and non-profits, in addition to 80% of Bristol Bay’s residents.

Rep. Huffman, who chairs the Subcommittee on Water, Oceans, and Wildlife, has additionally proposed an modification to the appropriations omnibus invoice to cease the Army Corps of Engineers from issuing a ultimate environmental impression assertion for Pebble Mine. The House of Representatives will start debating that bill this week.

In addition to Rep. Huffman, the letter can also be signed by Representatives Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR), Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), Julia Brownley (D-CA), Salud Carbajal (D-CA), Tony Cárdenas (D-CA), Judy Chu (D-CA), David N. Cicilline (D-RI), Gilbert R. Cisneros, Jr. (D-CA), Steve Cohen (D-TN), Gerald E. Connolly (D-VA), Jim Costa (D-CA), TJ Cox (D-CA), Katherine Clark (D-MA), Emanuel Cleaver, II (D-MO), Diana DeGette (D-CO), Suzan Okay. DelBene (D-WA), Anna G. Eshoo (D-CA), Adriano Espaillat (D-NY) Ruben Gallego (D-AZ), John Garamendi (D-CA), Raúl M. Grijalva (D-AZ), Deb Haaland (D-NM), Denny Heck (D-WA), Jim Himes (D-CT), Pramila Jayapal (D-WA), Ro Khanna (D-CA), Derek Kilmer (D-WA), Ann Kirkpatrick (D-AZ), Rick Larsen (D-WA) Mike Levin (D-CA), Barbara Lee (D-CA), Zoe Lofgren (D-CA), Alan Lowenthal (D-CA), Betty McCollum (D-MN), A. Donald McEachin (D-VA), Jerry McNerney (D-CA), Grace Meng (D-NY) James P. McGovern (D-MA), Ann McLane Kuster (D-NH), Mike Quigley (D-IL), Jamie Raskin (D-MD), Harley Rouda (D-CA), Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-CA), Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), Bradley S. Schneider (D-IL), Kurt Schrader (D-OR), Kim Schrier (D-WA), Albio Sires (D-NJ), Adam Smith (D-WA), Darren Soto (D-FL), Jackie Speier (D-CA), Paul Tonko (D-NY), and Peter Welch (D-VT).    Lacking:  Rep. Don Young (R-Alaska)

The complete text of the letter could be discovered right here or under:

The Honorable R.D. James

Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works

108 Army Pentagon

Washington, D.C. 22202

Col. Phillip J. Borders


U.S. Army Corps of Engineers – Alaska District

Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska 99506

Pricey Assistant Secretary James and Colonel Borders,

We write to categorical our deep concern relating to the proposed Pebble Mine in Bristol Bay, Alaska. Bristol Bay is a national treasure that helps the world’s biggest wild sockeye salmon fishery, the place a record-setting 62 million salmon returned final yr.[1] Bristol Bay’s wild salmon have sustained Alaska indigenous communities for hundreds of years by offering subsistence meals, subsistence-based livelihoods, and the basis for culture and group. Salmon are also the financial driver in Bristol Bay, and the region supplies half of the world’s sockeye salmon.

The proposed Pebble Mine, which might be situated at the headwaters of the Bristol Bay watershed, threatens the whole Bristol Bay area—its individuals, its salmon, and the multimillion-dollar financial system it helps.

Bristol Bay is the largest wild sockeye fishery and certainly one of the largest Chinook fisheries in the world. This unique and necessary area also supports at the very least 29 species of fish, including all five Pacific salmon species found in North America, 40 terrestrial mammal species, and 190 fowl species.[2] A 2013 report by the University of Alaska Institute of Social and Financial Research found that the value of economic fishing activities in the Bristol Bay region account for $1.5 billion in economic output worth, together with $500 million in direct revenue, making it the most precious wild salmon fishery in the world.[3] This financial activity fuels approximately 14,000 business fishing jobs in addition to different salmon-related business jobs throughout the United States from Alaska to Maine. The area also supports other very important economic sectors, together with sport and subsistence fishing/searching, tourism, and recreation.

The livelihoods and lifestyle of Bristol Bay tribes, village firms, fishermen, hunters, anglers, native business house owners, and different stakeholders will probably be put at risk if the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) permits the Pebble Mine. According to the draft Environmental Influence Assertion (DEIS) ready by USACE,[4] even the “small” 1.4-billion ton mine plan would utterly destroy greater than three,500 acres of wetlands and 80 miles of streams, and would require the development of serious infrastructure, together with: a minimal 6,500-foot long, 5,000-foot broad and 1,750-foot deep mine pit; an 83-milelong transportation corridor with over 200 stream crossings and 8 bridges; year-round icebreaking ferry service across Lake Iliamna with two terminals; a port website in Amakdedori Bay (essential habitat for endangered beluga whales); a 270-megawatt energy plant; and a 188-mile natural fuel pipeline (94 miles across Prepare dinner Inlet).

A venture of this measurement and magnitude has understandably produced deep concern and powerful opposition from those who rely on the Bristol Bay fishery for their lives and livelihoods.

In addition to the controversy surrounding the Pebble Mine, the DEIS itself has acquired intense criticism for failing to tackle reasonably-foreseeable impacts of the Pebble Mine on Bristol Bay fisheries, communities, public lands, and cultures; for disregarding considerations about Pebble’s unprecedented water remedy plan; and for ignoring impacts associated with absolutely creating the Pebble Mine. The DEIS additionally fails to analyze impacts from a catastrophic dam failure, which might be calamitous for the complete Bristol Bay ecosystem. As well as, the DEIS is missing crucial info, including a publish closure and reclamation plan, tribal well being impression statements, and a comprehensive compensatory mitigation plan.

The Alaska Department of Fish and Recreation and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service have each raised critical considerations about the venture’s lack of baseline knowledge, the want for site-specific research, and the preliminary DEIS’s incomplete evaluation of the challenge’s impression on fish, wildlife, and cultural assets. While some of these considerations have been addressed in the DEIS, others the USACE plans to resolve by conducting further area work. The results of this subject work won’t be launched until the publication of the last EIS, at which level the public won’t have any remaining opportunities to comment on the challenge and the accuracy of the results.

The DEIS also fails to ask whether Pebble’s mine plan is possible. Pebble hasn’t submitted an economic feasibility research – an business commonplace earlier than in search of permits. When the USACE requested for this info, Pebble stated it couldn’t disclose it without operating afoul of Canadian Securities laws prohibiting investor fraud and misrepresentation. A former Rio Tinto mining skilled determined not only that Pebble is uneconomical as proposed, however that it has a internet present worth of damaging $3 billion.[5]

Given these combined deficiencies, the USACE shouldn’t move ahead with allowing the Pebble Mine – let alone fast-tracking it beneath the present schedule. The company’s EIS schedule seeks to expedite the NEPA process, estimating a remaining EIS and Report of Determination (ROD) by 2020.[6] That is a very brief timeline that’s wholly inconsistent with a large, complicated mining venture which could have unavoidable, substantial, and long-term impacts to a sensitive, globally vital ecosystem. For comparison, the EIS process for the Donlin Gold Mine in Alaska took six years to full with a ROD issued in August 2018; the Pebble Mine EIS course of is scheduled to be accomplished in two. This aggressive tempo – coupled with the poor DEIS – is indefensible.

The Pebble Mine instantly threatens indigenous peoples, our maritime financial system, and hundreds of American jobs that depend on Bristol Bay. We urge the USACE to pay attention to the tribes, village firms, business fishermen, hunters, anglers, and people whose lives and livelihoods rely upon the integrity of the Bristol Bay watershed, and we urge the USACE to deny the allow for the Pebble Mine.