Coast Guard requests public comment on proposed Newhalen Bridge by August 5

The Coast Guard will make a decision soon regarding the Pebble project’s request to build a bridge over the Newhalen River as part of its transportation corridor.

In a public notice released July 6, the Coast Guard explained that its decision “to grant approval of the location and plans for the proposed project rests primarily upon the effect that the project has on navigation.”

Part of the decision-making process includes taking public comment for 30 days.

This proposed location for a bridge over Newhalen River is being considered by the U.S. Coast Guard as part of the federal permitting process for the Pebble project. The Coast Guard is taking public comments until August 5, 2020.

Type of comments requested

From waterway users:

  • Placement of a bridge protective system
  • Other navigational safety issues, including the need for clearance gauges and extent of nighttime navigation passing through the bridge to determine the need for bridge lighting.

From boat owners in the project vicinity:

  • Information about their vessels, including type of vessel, overall length, draft, beam, and height from the waterline to the highest fixed point.

See details for bridge construction.

The Coast Guard notes that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is the lead agency for the federal permitting process and that it acts on behalf of the Coast Guard with respect to all environmental laws. Comments received concerning the environment will be forwarded to the Army Corps.

Send written comments by August 5

By email:

By mail: Commander, Seventeenth Coast Guard District (dpwbridges),

P.O. Box 25517 Juneau, Alaska 99802

Schedule for federal permitting decisions

The Coast Guard is one of three federal decision makers for aspects of the Pebble project. The Army Corps is the lead agency for the federal permit process, and will determine whether to grant a Clean Water Act 404 permit that would allow developers to release dredge and fill materials into waters of the U.S.

The Coast Guard and the Army Corps are expected to release their permit decisions at the same time, in a Joint Record of Decision, expected later this summer or in the fall.

A third federal agency, the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE), is considering the Pebble project’s application for a Pipeline Right-Of-Way (ROW) in the Cook Inlet Outer Continental Self (OCS). BSEE pulled out of the Joint Record of Decision process earlier this spring, when it was determined that its own timeline for decision making was not synching with that of the Army Corps. BSEE has not indicated an expected date for a decision on Pebble’s application for the Pipeline ROW authorization.