“EPA prepares to make Bristol Bay watershed assessment public,” (May 9, 2012 – KDLG – Dillingham, via Alaska Public radio)
The Environmental Protection Agency announced it is nearly ready to release its draft watershed assessment study to the public, and all involved are eager to see the results. EPA officials say the assessment will be based on science, and will consider public comments when drafting recommendations for the final assessment. Meanwhile, environmental and conservation groups say they believe the EPA will rule against major activity in the region, while those representing Pebble Partnership and the State of Alaska say they are concerned about the potential for unprecedented rules and how that might affect other development around the state.
“EPA’s Bristol Bay mining study upsets Alaska officials” (May 4, 2012 – Associated Press, via the Anchorage Daily News)
The State of Alaska continues to object to the Environmental Protection Agency’s “watershed assessment” of the Bristol Bay area, which the agency launched in response to concerns raised about the development of the Pebble Mine Prospect. Alaska Attorney General Michael Geraghty wrote to the EPA in early March, questioning the agency’s authority to do the assessment prior to development permits being sought for the mine. The EPA’s Regional Administrator replied about a month later that the agency is acting within its authority. He noted the study is not a regulatory action, but is gathering information that will affect the decisions regarding Bristol Bay. Pebble Partnership, meanwhile, says the assessment is premature, and should not happen until after the company files for mining permits. The draft watershed assessment is due for release later this month. EPA officials will hear public comments, and plans to release a final decision this fall.