News Roundup: 404(c) and HB77 dominate Pebble-related news

EPA’s Section 404(c) announcement and resulting subpoena dominates national news on Pebble; at the state level, public response stalls House Bill 77, while a judgment stalls the “Save our Salmon” initiative.

Responses to EPA’s 404(c) decision

EPA’s decision to use its authority under the Clean Water Act to pursue protections for Bristol Bay was met with positive reactions from some – and a subpoena from others.

Leaders, Stakeholders React After EPA’s Pebble Mine Announcement (February 28, 2014 – Alaska Dispatch)

Many had been waiting to see how EPA would respond to Tribes that had requested a 404(c) action to protect Bristol Bay. When the EPA announced that it would indeed initiate the rarely-used 404(c) process, there were mixed reactions. Rounded up here by the Alaska Dispatch, they range from “federal overreach on steroids” (Alaska State Senator Cathy Giessel) to the first steps in a “significant conservation achievement” (Trout Unlimited President Chris Wood). Read the full story.

Pictures: Photographer Who Shot Bristol Bay Celebrates Halt of Pebble Mine (March 2, 2014 – National Geography Daily News)

National Geographic piece features Michael Melford’s compelling photos of Bristol Bay, along with his reaction to the EPA’s 404(c) announcement. Read the full story.

EPA Tells Miners to Keep Out of Alaska’s Bristol Bay and They Aren’t Buying It (February 28, 2014 – Business Week online)

Business Week report includes comments from Pebble Limited Partnership CEO Tom Collier, who said EPA’s 404(c) action is “insignificant” and that he believes the process “will ultimately not prevent him from developing the Pebble Mine.” Read the full story.

Issa Subpoenas EPA for Pebble Mine Documents (March 21, 2014 – House Committee press release)

The U.S. House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform has subpoenaed the EPA for documents related to its Bristol Bay Watershed Assessment and subsequent announcement that it is beginning a process under Section 404(c) of the Clean Water Act to seek protections for Bristol Bay. Read the full story.


Designed to “streamline” the permitting process, the bill has received a lot of attention this legislative session, as proponents and detractors have spoken out for and against.

As Public Testimony Floods In, Permitting Bill’s Future Uncertain (March 21, 2014 – Alaska Public Radio Network)

Alexandra Gutierrez reports on the status of HB77, noting that vigorous public response to the bill has it stalled with just weeks left in the legislative session. Read the full story.

Nuvista Shelves Chikuminuk Dam Project (March 21, 2014 – Bristol Bay Times)

Until March 14, HB77 had included a provision to approve a feasibility study of a hydroelectric plant at Chikuminuk Lake in Wood-Tikchik State Park. This article describes the history of the project and what led to its demise. Read the full story.

“Save Our Salmon” initiative

Judge sides with Pebble Partnership, state on “Save Our Salmon” initiative (March 20, 2014 – Alaska Dispatch)

Alaska Dispatch provides a summary of the legal wrangling over the “Save Our Salmon” initiative, which Alaska Superior Court Judge John Suddock recently ruled violates state law. Read the full story.