July 1 is new deadline for public comment

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has extended the public comment period on the Pebble Draft Environmental Impact Statement. The agency had received requests for additional time to review and comment on the document from individual Alaskans, Native corporations and tribes, and Senators Dan Sullivan and Lisa Murkowski. Those requests varied from a total public comment period of 120 to 270 days.

Other groups and individuals have submitted comments to the Corps that the original comment period, at 90 days, was sufficient. (The required length of a comment period on a 404 permit is 45-days).

“It came down to a judgment call,” explained David Hobbie, chief of the Alaska Corps’ Regulatory Division. “We want to be transparent and reasonable with everybody – the general public and the applicant…. Originally we believed 90 days was more than enough.” But after reviewing public comments, testimony, and looking at the overall document, Hobbie said they, “felt it was prudent and reasonable to give it an additional 30 days.”

It turns out that the extension is just a bit longer than 30 days. The Corps initially announced a deadline of June 29, but revised that to July 1st after determining that a comment period cannot officially end on a weekend.

You can submit your own comment and view nearly 20,000 comments that have been received so far at the Corps Pebble Project EIS website.

Gayla Hoseth, Second Chief of Curyung Tribal Council and Director of Natural Resources at Bristol Bay Native Association in Dillingham, Alaska, was one of a number of people who asked for an extended public comment period during testimony at the U.S. Army Corps Engineers’ Anchorage hearing on the Pebble Draft EIS. Hoseth brought a copy of the DEIS to illustrate its size and request more time for review, analysis and comment. Testimony from nine public hearings is now available online.