April 2012

19 April 2012

March 2012

Pebble Watch 2011Pebble Watch explores the topics of landscape, recreation and recreational tourism in this issue, which includes an edition of our educational supplement, Give and Take.

Try your hand at a parks/refuge matching quiz, read a description of new reports on Visual Resources and Recreation from the  Pebble Limited Partnership, and find out what visitors have to say about Bristol Bay.

Read more

April 2012

This issue of Pebble Watch's Give and Take newsletter focuses on public input and how it can affect policy. It includes articles on how to find out about public input opportunities, and tips on presenting effective comments. The printed version included an insert to Pebble Watch Explores: Environmental Baseline Document.

Read more

13 April 2012

Large Mine Permitting Team presents at ComFish

State of Alaska Large Mine Permitting Team Permitting and state process on both hard rock metal and coal mines - The team will explain differences per the Dept. of Natural Resources and the federal Office of Surface Mining requirements for coal, and take your questions!

Presenters: Sharmon Stambaugh, Large Mine Coordinator, Dept. of Natural Resources; Allan Nakanishi, Dept. of Environmental Conservation; Kate Harper, ADF&G

Time: 12:30pm - 2:00pm

Location: Best Western/Kodiak Inn Harbor Room 

Read more

Pebble Partnership presents EBD overview at ComFish

Characterizing the environment of Southwest Alaska

An overview of the environmental baseline data compiled related to the Pebble Mine Deposit, a five-year research program studying the physical, biological and socioeconomic aspects of the region.  Presenters: Jane Whitsett &Mike Heatwole


Time: 10am - 11am

Location: Best Western/Kodiak Inn Harbor Room 

Read more

11 April 2012

Pebble mine news roundup: April 11

Recent Pebble news focuses on presentations the Pebble Limited Partnership has made about its Environmental Baseline Document, as well as the State of Alaska's request for the EPA to stop working on its own Bristol Bay Watershed Assessment.

"Reply to Alaska AG Geraghty" (April 11, 2012 - Homer Tribune)
Dennis McLerran, Environmental Protection Agency Regional Administrator for Northwestern States, has declined the Alaska Attorney General's request to suspend the agency's Bristol Bay watershed assessment. McLerran wrote that the assessment is not a regulatory action, but an important step to understanding the value of and risk to the Bristol Bay resource in advance of considering permits that would be required to proceed with large-scale mining development. He pledged cooperation with the state, and wrote that after the draft assessment is released in May, public meetings to discuss it will begin in June. There also will be a public meeting in Anchorage in August with the Peer Review Panel.
Read the entire response in the Homer Tribune.

"Who has authority to assess Pebble Mine risks: Alaska or EPA?" (April 10, 2012 - Alaska Dispatch, reprinted in its entirety from a March 30, 2012 web post by the Cordova Times: "State Objections rise on EPA Bristol Bay watershed assessment")
Some 77 groups from Alaska and elsewhere in the U.S. signed a March 28th letter asking the Obama Administration to have the Environmental Protection Agency assess the Bristol Bay watershed to determine if it should be placed under strict protections offered by the federal Clean Water Act. But Alaska Attorney General Michael Geraghty, in a March 9th letter to the EPA, asserted the agency is acting prematurely, and lacks the authority to do an assessment before the Pebble Partnership applies for permits. He asked for a halt to EPA's work on the assessment.
Read the entire document in the Alaska Dispatch or in Cordova Times.

"Science bought, not revised" (April 8, 2012 - Peninsula Clarion)
This is another account of the public meeting in Homer, in which Pebble Partnership consultants presented an overview of the Environmental Baseline Document. The story focuses in part on questions from the attendees, including some about the authenticity of the consultants' work and whether the mine could be developed without endangering the rich Bristol Bay sockeye salmon fishery. The consultants and the Partnership's spokesman said the scientific work was thorough and straightforward, and not influenced by Partnership management.
Read the entire article in the Peninsula Clarion.

"Seismologist at WAISC Pebble forum raises concerns" (April 5, 2012 - KDLG, Dillingham Public Radio)
This account from the Western Alaska Interdisciplinary Science Conference held in Dillingham in late March centers on the testimony of a geologist who questions the conclusions about seismic hazard issues in the Pebble Partnership's Environmental Baseline Document. He said he finds much of the science in the document well done, but is concerned that its conclusion that earthquakes pose no risk to the proposed mine's huge earthen tailings pond is based more on optimism than scientific evidence. No response from either the Partnership or scientists involved in that section of the document was included in the story.
Listen to the entire story at KDLG.com.

"Pebble approaches permitting" (April 4, 2012 - Homer Tribune)
Consultants for the project conducted a meeting at city hall March 30 to discuss components of the recently released Environmental Baseline Document. About 45 people attended; local biologists, commercial fishermen and a geologist were among those posing detailed questions to the consultants about their findings.
Read the entire article in the Homer Tribune.

"Pebble holds meetings on environmental data" (March 30, 2012 - Peninsula Clarion)
This is a story written in advance of another of the public meetings on Pebble's Environmental Baseline Document conducted by the Partnership and some of its science consultants. A Pebble spokesman is quoted saying the meeting would be an opportunity to pose questions directly to some of the scientists who worked on the about the study. Opponents of the prospective mine were quoted as well, saying it would still pose a risk to the Bristol Bay fishery, regardless of the huge volume of research done beforehand.
Read the entire story in the Peninsula Clarion.


Read more

09 April 2012

PLP continues EBD community presentations

The Pebble Limited Partnership (PLP) has provided Pebble Watch with dates of its next community presentations regarding the Environmental Baseline Document (EBD) that it released in January.

Meeting dates/locations:

4/13 - Kodiak (Com Fish) - (10-11am)

4/24 - Levelock - (11am-2pm)

4/25 - Naknek (invited: King Salmon, South Naknek, Portage Creek, Clarks Point, Egegik) (Bristol Bay Auditorium - 11-2pm)

4/27 - Manakotak - (School - 5-8pm)

4/28 - Togiak - (Togiak Traditional Building - Noon-3pm)

An EBD Water & Fish consultant will be present at each of the regional meetings to present on their discipline. For additional information, contact the PLP at (907) 771-9778.

Read more

05 April 2012

EPA moves Watershed Assessment release to May

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) plans to release its draft Bristol Bay Watershed Assessment the first week of May, followed by a 60-day public comment period. Judy Smith, EPA Region 10's Community Involvement Coordinator, said EPA is planning public meetings for the first week of June, but they are still working on exact dates and locations. EPA wanted to "give a few weeks for people to look at the document between the release and the meetings," said Smith.

EPA Bristol Bay Watershed Assessment

Read more

04 April 2012

Scientists present Pebble information at Dillingham WAISC conference



The Western Alaska Interdisciplinary Science Conference, held last week in Dillingham, featured a special session with scientists who had contributed to Pebble Limited Partnership's (PLP) Environmental Baseline Document (EBD), and independent scientists who had conducted their own research in the Pebble deposit area. About 50 people were present throughout the day-long event, including presenters, conference attendees, and members of the public.

PLP presentation

PLP presentations covered those sections of the EBD that fit best with the conference theme, noted Ken Taylor, PLP's vice president of environment. Morning and early afternoon sessions focused on water and fish. Scientists referenced each others' work repeatedly, illustrating a strong connection between topics. For example,  salmon habitat is linked to the availability of groundwater, in part because its warmer temperature helps salmon overwinter. In turn, studying the hydrogeology of the area tells where groundwater is located within fractured bedrock and other permeable material, such as gravel.

Jane Whitsett, Environmental Studies Manager, also gave a brief overview of the document, how it is structured, and how to access it at the Pebble web site.

Presenters included:

  • Jaime Cathcart (Knight Piesold) - Surface Water Hydrology
  • Hugh McCredie (Piteau Associates) - Hydrogeology and Water Balance, Surface and Groundwater Quality
  • Stephen Day, (SRK Consulting) - Geochemistry
  • MaryLou Keefe (R2 Resources) - Fish Resources
  • Dudley Reiser (R2 Resources) - Instream Flow Habitat Modeling.


Pebble Limited Partnership staff and contracted scientists waiting at the Dillingham airport after the WASIC conference. Front, l. to r.: Jane Whitsett (PLP), Laura Tesch (PLP), Dr. Jaime Cathcart (Knight Piesold). Back, l. to r.: Dr. MaryLou Keefe (R2 Resources), Dr. Dudley Reiser (R2 Resources), Dr. Stephen Day (SRK Consulting)

Independent scientific research

Tim Troll, who works with the Nature Conservancy and the Nushagak-Mulchatna Wood-Tikchik Land Trust, began afternoon presentations by emphasizing that Pebble scientists have not been the only researchers studying the Pebble deposit area. Independent scientists have been conducting their own studies, funded by individual tribes, National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, and Center for Science in Public Participation, among others.

Presenters included:

  • Kendra Zamzow (Center for Science in Public Participation) - Surface Water Quality
  • Sarah O'Neal (Fisheries Research and Consulting) - Fish Density and Distribution
  • Carol Ann Woody (Fisheries Research and Consulting) - Fish Resources, Groundwater and Salmon
  • Molly Welker (Bristol Environmental Remediation Services) - Water Quality at Drill Rig #6 South
  • Bretwood Higman, Seismology, Earthquake Risk at Pebble Mine.

Fact sheets and reports complementing some of these presentations are available at www.pebblescience.org and the Center for Science in Public Participation.


Top: Molly Welker (left, Bristol Environmental Remediation Services) and Sarah O'Neal (third from left, Fisheries Research and Consulting) are among a group of scientists who have conducted independent research in the Pebble deposit area. Bottom: Dr. Bretwood Higmann (Ground Truth Trekking) and Dr. Carol Ann Woody (Fisheries Research and Consulting) were also among the presenters.

Read more

Pebble Environmental Baseline Document


Pebble Watch Explores: Environmental Baseline Document gives an overview of the Pebble Limited Partnership's baseline data document released in early 2012. Topics include how the document is related to permitting and how to get the most from your reading.

Read more

Pebble Watch Explores: Environmental Baseline Document

pwegraphicThe Pebble Watch team introduces a new series of fact sheets, called "Pebble Watch Explores." Each fact sheet will give a basic overview of a topic related to development of the Pebble mine. The first several "Pebble Watch Explores" titles will tie directly to the Environmental Baseline Document (EBD) released by the Pebble Limited Partnership.  Download the first fact sheet for an overview of the EBD, including what it is, how it's related to permitting, and how to get the most from your reading.

Read more