19 April 2012
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.
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.
13 April 2012
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
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
11 April 2012
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")
"Science bought, not revised" (April 8, 2012 - Peninsula Clarion)
"Seismologist at WAISC Pebble forum raises concerns" (April 5, 2012 - KDLG, Dillingham Public Radio)
"Pebble approaches permitting" (April 4, 2012 - Homer Tribune)
"Pebble holds meetings on environmental data" (March 30, 2012 - Peninsula Clarion)
09 April 2012
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.
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.
05 April 2012
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.
04 April 2012
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 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.
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.
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.
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.