State of Alaska agencies in the departments of Natural Resources, Fish and Game and Environmental Conservation are continuing to collect public input on a Permitting Initiative to review and streamline the current state permitting process used for development of both small and large resource development projects, including mining. The proposed Pebble Mine is one of many projects that could be affected by any changes to the state's processes and interactions with federal agencies.
Pebble Watch team members attended an October 13 meeting in Anchorage, one of eight scheduled public forums. Representatives from state agencies gave brief presentations about the permitting process and took 12 formal public comments from individuals and organizations.
No meetings have been scheduled yet for the Bristol Bay region. However, any member of the public may participate by webinar for the October 27 Bethel forum, or visit the state's Permitting Initiative web page to review information and submit comments. Comments received by the start of the next legislative session (January 17, 2012) would be especially appreciated. (See "How to Submit Your Comments" at the end of this article.)
During the public comment period, Pebble Limited Partnership CEO John Shively was among those who spoke. He said he gave his comments as an individual and provided specific suggestions for improving the permitting process. Author Tim Troll presented highlights from the Nushagak-Mulchatna Watershed Council's draft "Standards and Practices for Responsible Mining."
Common themes during additional public comments called for state agencies to:
Points brought out in the agency presentations included:
How to submit your comments:
Visit the Permitting Initiative web page to find an upcoming meeting or to submit your comments online.
DNR Deputy Commissioner Ed Fogels noted there is currently no deadline for submitting comments, but the state agencies are hoping to receive feedback in time for the next legislative session in the event that they need to suggest changes to current legislation as a part of their efforts. The next legislative session begins on January 17, 2012.
About Pebble Watch
Pebble Watch is an impartial, educational and fact-based initiative of the BBNC Land Department to disseminate information regarding the proposed Pebble Mine project to BBNC shareholders and interested parties.