Alaska governor says Army Corps of Engineers moving too fast on mining project

Alaska Governor Bill Walker. (Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images)
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is preparing an Environmental Impact Statement for the proposed Pebble mine, and the Walker administration is asking for more time to comment on it.

The proposed gold and copper mine would sit upstream from Bristol Bay. Gov. Bill Walker has said he doesn’t support the mine and believes the priority should be on the region’s salmon.

The Corps announced a “scoping” period that would last the month of April. During those 30 days, the Corps plans to identify the areas and concerns it will focus on in its environmental study.

Alaska Natural Resources Commissioner Andy Mack is asking that the scoping period be three or four months.

In a letter to the Alaska commander of the Corps of Engineers, Mack said a 30-day scoping period isn’t adequate for the scale of the project. Mack described it as “an open-pit mine, a mile across, near the headwaters of the most prolific salmon fishery in the world.”

The Pebble Limited Partnership says it’s committed to minimal impact and says its latest design incorporates new environmental safeguards.

Related stories from around the North:

Canada: Wood Buffalo National Park in northern Canada listed among threatened World Heritage Sites, Radio Canada International

Finland: Finland protects 3,000 new hectares of forest, Yle News

Norway:  Deal protects Arctic waters around Svalbard, Norway from fishing, The Independent Barents Observer

Russia:  A new national park on the Kola Peninsula, The Independent Barents Observer

Sweden: Preserving biodiversity in Sweden’s shrinking natural forests, Radio Sweden

United States: Trump administration to drop new “critical habitat” for endangered species designation, Alaska Public Media

Liz Ruskin, Alaska Public Media

Liz Ruskin, Alaska Public Media

For more news from Alaska visit Alaska Public Media.

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