Alaskan Fishermen feel betrayed by rushed Federal permitting process for Pebble Mine

Pictured: The area of the proposed Pebble Mine in Bristol Bay Alaska.(Photo: Erin McKittrick, aktrekking.com/pebble/ [CC BY-SA 3.0 creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/])

Press Pool

U.S. Army Corps’ Preliminary Final Environmental Impact Statement ignores Congress, remains ridden with deficiencies

News Release

Commercial Fisherman for Bristol Bay

Friday, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) released a Preliminary Final Environmental Impact Statement (PFEIS) for the Pebble Project to cooperating agencies and Bristol Bay Tribes, underscoring the Trump Administration’s agenda to fast-track the proposed Pebble Mine through the permitting process before Fall 2020. The Preliminary Final Environmental Impact Statement comes just two months after direct instruction from Congress and expectations vocalized by Alaska’s Senior Senator Lisa Murkowski to uphold a fair science-based permitting process and address the outstanding data gaps and environmental concerns raised by a variety of federal agencies, including the Department of Interior, Environmental Protection Agency, and National Marine Fisheries Service.  

With no action taken to address the concerns outlined by these federal agencies as well as the State of Alaska, Bristol Bay Tribes, commercial fishermen, and other stakeholders, the United States Army Corps of Engineers has made it clear that it has no intention of conducting a science-based permitting process. Instead, it continues to rush the Pebble Project Environmental Impact Statement process, favoring a foreign mining company and endangering Bristol Bay’s residents, fishermen, and the largest wild salmon fishery left on earth.  

“The Army Corps’ preliminary final Environmental Impact Statement falls short of the directive given by other cooperating agencies, Alaska’s Senator Lisa Murkowski, and the rest of Congress,” said Commercial Fishermen for Bristol Bay Director Katherine Carscallen. “The preliminary final Environmental Impact Statement is more of the same; this Administration’s priority is a purely political process that completely ignores well-documented science and the voices of Alaskans.”   

“Bristol Bay’s residents and fishermen have repeatedly tried to engage in this permitting process, but it’s now abundantly clear that we cannot trust the process or trust the Army Corps to give an honest, hard look at what the potential impacts of the Pebble Mine might be on this watershed and the communities, fishermen, and businesses that depend on it,” said Bristol Bay resident and lifelong fisherman Robin Samuelson. “Senator Murkowski and Congress must act now to restore integrity to this corrupted process and protect Bristol Bay and the 14,000 Americans who depend on it for their livelihoods.” 

Commercial Fishermen for Bristol Bay is a national coalition of fishermen working to protect Bristol Bay, Alaska and the 14,000 jobs, $500 million in annual income, and $1.5 billion in economic activity that Bristol Bay’s wild salmon provide. 

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(Image: Commercial Fisherman for Bristol Bay)
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