Credit: Homer News
The plans for the Pebble Mine at Bristol Bay have drawn broadening backlash despite the mine’s backing by the Dunleavy administration.
The City of Kodiak, Aleutians East Borough and the North Pacific Fishery Management Council are now all on record opposing the draft environmental impact statement for the massive mine, saying it is flawed, does not go far enough and leaves more questions than answers.
At Kodiak, where over 500 resident fishermen and tenders work at Bristol Bay, city council members said in its letter that there is no discussion of how the mine affects fisheries beyond the Bay and Cook Inlet.
Councilman John Whiddon called the potential impacts “profound.”
“Any potential negative impacts – release of toxins or damage to the watershed and consequently on the fisheries at Bristol Bay, has the potential to have a profound impact on all our fisheries by damaging the Alaska brand.”
The City of Kodiak requested that the US Army Corps of Engineers delay issuing a final environmental impact statement and reopen studies on fisheries related aspects of the Pebble project.
Likewise, the Aleutians East Borough – representing six communities adjacent to the Pebble project area, stated they were never even invited for consultations and discussions about impacts to their borough were “non-existent.” Mayor Alvin Osterback’s letter called the project “an avoidable risk.”
Similarly, a letter being written by the North Pacific Fishery Management Council says in addition to fish populations, the Pebble project should also assess impacts “on both the value and reputation of North Pacific Fisheries.”
That had Dunleavy administration calling foul and formally accusing the council of overstepping its bounds.
Finally, led by US Representative Jared Huffman of California, 53 House members sent a letter this week to the Army Corps asking them to simply drop the Pebble Mine project.
Alaska Congressman Don Young was not among the signers. Likewise, Alaska’s two senators have remained silent on their positions on the mine.
The public can comment on the Pebble plans through July 1.