Corps denies Pebble a Clean Water Act permit

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers today issued a Record of Decision on the Pebble Limited Partnership’s (PLP) application to build a mine at the Pebble deposit in Bristol Bay. The agency determined that PLP’s plan for the “discharge of fill material does not comply with Clean Water Act guidelines and concluded that the proposed project is contrary to the public interest.”

This decision is the likely end to a rollercoaster of a project that has kept Bristol Bay residents in a decades-long state of uncertainty.

The timing of the Corps’ decision comes amid controversy over the Pebble tapes and recent texts and emails that suggest that agencies within the State of Alaska were working in concert with Pebble developers and the Corps to develop a compensatory mitigation plan that would meet all requirements.

PLP can appeal the decision within 60 days, but it is “limited to a review of the administrative record, the Corps memorandum for the record of the appeal conference or meeting, and any supplemental information that the review officer has determined is needed to clarify the administrative record. Neither the appellant nor the Corps may add new information or analyses to the record.”

Official statement from the Corps’ Alaska District Commander, Colonel Damon Delarosa:

This action is based on all available facts and complies with existing laws and regulations. It reflects a regulatory process that is fair, flexible and balanced. USACE is committed to maintaining and restoring the nation’s aquatic resources, while allowing reasonable development.

We strived for transparency, collaboration, accuracy and expediency throughout the decision-making process. We truly value and appreciate the contributions of everyone who engaged in this endeavor. Now, I’m proud to say that we delivered on our promise to conduct a thorough review and make a timely permit decision.

Read more from Alex DeMarben at Anchorage Daily News

Trump administration denies permit for Pebble mine in Southwest Alaska

Pebble mine critics say text messages reveal the state is helping the project. A state official says the texts have been misinterpreted.

U.S. Army Corps denial letter and appeal form