The last public hearing on the draft environmental impact statement for the proposed Pebble mine takes place today, April 16, in Anchorage, with public testimony from noon to 8 pm at the Dena’ina Center, and a rally at 5:30 pm at F Street and 7th Avenue.
Whether you talk about water, fish, culture, jobs, food, or the dearth of science and adequate analysis in the draft EIS, make sure you say that the “No Action Alternative” is the only alternative for protecting Alaska salmon and communities.
No action means no mine—because Bristol Bay is no place for the toxic industrial hazard known as Pebble.
Pebble cannot protect food, water, the future
Northern Dynasty, known in Alaska as the Pebble Partnership, is throwing a lot of money into selling a big fish story, but its sales job won’t protect the sustainable, enduring foundation of Bristol Bay communities—clean water and healthy salmon.
Truth is, industry promises and hubris have led to devastating outcomes for Alaska. We need look no further than the Exxon Valdez catastrophe to know the true cost of industrial exploitation on water, fish, wildlife, families and communities.
Yet the draft EIS on the proposed Pebble mine fails to look at the most obvious sources of concern, such as a tailings dam failure, which would send toxic, deadly sludge into the streams and rivers of the Bristol Bay watershed.
Nor does the draft EIS adequately look at the impacts of chemical leaching that can cause deformities and death in fish, or at Pebble’s unsubstantiated and untested water treatment solution.
The draft EIS even ignores modern fishery science, which shows how all groundwater in Bristol Bay is connected, and that what happens in one drainage affects the others.
Complicity and negligence
For the Army Corps to suggest it doesn’t have to look beyond 20 years in its analysis, or consider risks that Pebble says are “highly unlikely,” despite toxic tailings dams that need maintenance and oversight FOREVER, is a dangerous coupling of complicity and negligence.
For the Army Corps to claim it doesn’t have to hold Pebble accountable for substantiating its claims or addressing outcomes it chooses to omit or fails to address in its permit application is a willful abdication of duty. The agency is wearing blinders Pebble put over the Corps’ eyes.
The risk of the proposed Pebble mine to fish, water and people will persist for centuries, influenced by the stressors of climate change, seismic activity, and many more natural and manmade problems.
The already dramatic impacts of the changing climate on Alaska are expected to accelerate in years, not decades.
Speak up, sign your name, be counted
There’s a lot to talk about when commenting on the draft EIS and Pebble’s permit application.
You can talk about how the draft EIS and permit application fail to address tailings dam failures and water impacts; how they haven’t demonstrated adequate mitigation or water management plans; how they haven’t provided complete and adequate data and analysis about fisheries, hydrology, water chemistry, wetland delineation, and so much more.
You can talk about what clean water and healthy fish mean to you. You can talk about how protecting Alaska does not mean letting Outside corporations exploit it at the expense of fish, water, and people. Just make sure you talk about it now—go to the last hearing in Anchorage, comment via the Army Corps web page, or sign on to any of these letters by Save Bristol Bay, American Rivers, and Alaska Wilderness League by May 30.