United Tribes of Bristol Bay
Yesterday the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) released by mail a fundamentally-flawed Final Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the proposed Pebble Mine. The document ignores science and does nothing to address comments filed by tens of thousands of people who all know the truth: the proposed gold and copper mine will devastate Bristol Bay’s waters and its world-class fishery.
The draft environmental review by the Corps was universally criticized by the Environmental Protection Agency, Department of Interior, Fish and Wildlife Service, Alaska Department of Fish and Game, and other state and federal agencies; who all stated the cursory review was inadequate and drastically underestimated the impacts of Pebble on the waters, salmon, and people of the Bristol Bay region. In publishing the Final Environmental Impact Statement yesterday, the Army Corps confirmed it took none of those comments seriously, and instead remained committed to achieving its permitting decision on a predetermined political timeline.
Further, the Army Corps also ignored a Congressional directive spearheaded by Sen. Lisa Murkowski in December of 2019 tasking the agency with addressing deficiencies and data gaps within the draft environmental impact statement.
The Final Environmental Impact Statement comes just over two-and-a-half years from Pebble’s filing its application for a permit, an unprecedented timeline for a project of such size and scale. The timing also coincides with yet another massive wild salmon run winding down in Bristol Bay, with over 55 million sockeye having returned to the Bay so far this summer.
Bristol Bay leaders made a unified statement about the release of the Final Environmental Impact Statement for Pebble Limited Partnership’s proposed project:
Bristol Bay Native Association President & CEO Ralph Andersen
Bristol Bay Economic Development Corporation CEO Norm Van Vactor
United Tribes of Bristol Bay Executive Director Alannah Hurley
Commercial Fishermen for Bristol Bay Director Katherine Carscallen
“Preliminary review proves the Final Environmental Impact Statement completely fails to adequately assess the impacts of Pebble on Bristol Bay’s waters, salmon, and people. This comes as no surprise to the people of Bristol Bay who have been silenced and steam-rolled throughout the two-and-a-half-year process that advanced at unprecedented speeds. Not only has the Corps ignored the voices of Bristol Bay but also the concerns from major state and federal scientific agencies and a congressional directive to address the concerns with the major pitfalls in the assessment. The Final Environmental Impact Statement fails to address those concerns and it wildly underestimates and ignores the devastating impacts Pebble will have on Bristol Bay.
Despite the announcement yesterday this fight is nowhere near over, more permitting is required, local landowners are blocking the transportation route, and the project remains too toxic for investors. For nearly two decades, the people of Bristol Bay have not faltered in their dedication to protecting Bristol Bay from the Pebble Mine. We refuse to jeopardize our region for the profits of a foreign mining company. Our cultures, communities and economies rely on our clean water and protecting this for generations to come is far more important than short-term profits. The project would permanently destroy thousands of acres of wetlands and more than one hundred miles of streams, forever devastating our region. Industrial mining is simply not compatible with our vision for the future in Bristol Bay and we will do whatever it takes to stop this toxic project.
It’s time for our elected leaders to stop this corruption and hold the government accountable. Sen. Murkowski and Congress have asked the EPA to veto this project if its devastating impacts are not addressed and now the verdict is in: Pebble will have unavoidable consequences for our people, communities and resources, and the mine must be stopped.”
Bristol Bay Native Association represents 31 Bristol Bay tribes & is the regional nonprofit tribal consortium providing social, economic, and educational opportunities to tribal members.
Bristol Bay Economic Development Corporation represents 17 CDQ communities & exists to promote economic growth and opportunities for Bristol Bay residents through sustainable use of the Bering Sea fisheries.
United Tribes of Bristol Bay is a tribal consortium representing 15 Bristol Bay tribal governments (that represent over 80 percent of the region’s total population) working to protect the Yup’ik, Dena'ina, and Alutiiq way of life in Bristol Bay.
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.