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EPA - Bristol Bay Assessment & 404(c)

EPA Submissions (September 19, 2014)

On July 21, 2014, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Region 10 released a "Proposed Determination of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Region 10 Pursuant to Section 404(c) of the Clean Water Act, Pebble Deposit Area, Southwest Alaska." In its 'Proposed Determination,' Region 10 proposes a series of restrictions that, if approved, would restrict the use of certain waters in southwest Alaska for disposal of dredged or fill material associated with the Pebble deposit. A public comment period on Region 10's 'Proposed Determination' concluded on September 19, 2014.

The Pebble Partnership's comprehensive submission to EPA Region 10 on its 'Proposed Determination' (with related attachments) can be found below. In addition to challenging EPA's statutory authority to pre-emptively impose development restrictions at Pebble prior to the submission of a proposed development plan for review by federal and state regulatory agencies, the Pebble Partnership provides evidence that EPA's proposed restrictions are arbitrary and unsupported in law, policy, precedent and science.

The September 19, 2014 submission by PLP to EPA and the Executive Summary can be found below:

PLP EPA Cover Letter (PDF)
PLP EPA Comments (PDF)

Exhibit 1 (PDF) Exhibit 2 (PDF) Exhibit 3 (PDF) Exhibit 4 (PDF) Exhibit 5 (PDF)
Exhibit 6 (PDF) Exhibit 7 (PDF) Exhibit 8 (PDF) Exhibit 9 (PDF) Exhibit 10 (PDF)
Exhibit 11A (PDF) Exhibit 11B (PDF) Exhibit 11C (PDF) Exhibit 11D (PDF) Exhibit 11E (PDF)
Exhibit 12 (PDF) Exhibit 13 (PDF) Exhibit 14 (PDF) Exhibit 15 (PDF) Exhibit 16 (PDF)

EPA Submissions (April 29, 2014)

On February 28, 2014, US EPA sent a letter to Pebble Limited Partnership, the US Army Corps of Engineers and the Alaska Department of Natural Resources in which the federal agency announced it would initiate a regulatory action under Section 404(c) of the Clean Water Act (CWA) to determine whether to pre-emptively veto the Pebble Project, or whether and how to establish restrictions on its development. Although PLP has yet to propose a development plan for Pebble, EPA gave PLP (and the state of Alaska and the Corps of Engineers) until April 29, 2014 to "demonstrate that no unacceptable adverse effects to aquatic resources would result" from the project.

The April 29, 2014 submission by PLP to EPA and the Executive Summary can be found below:

PLP EPA Response (PDF)
PLP EPA Response - Exhibits A - K (PDF)
PLP EPA Response - Executive Summary (PDF)

Bristol Bay Watershed Assessment

The draft Bristol Bay Watershed Assessment (BBWA) is a report authored by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) which examines potential effects of mineral development in a vast region of southwest Alaska.

When the draft of the first document was released in May 2012, Northern Dynasty retained a number of world-class expert engineering and environmental consulting firms to prepare comprehensive, critical and technical reviews of each version. EPA then issued a draft of a second document in April 2013, to which Northern Dynasty and its experts again responded.

The 2013 BBWA still suffers from the same major shortcomings as the original report -- in particular, that EPA continues to assess the environmental effects of a hypothetical mine of its own invention, one that does not employ modern engineering standards, environmental safeguards or project-specific mitigation measures and could not be permitted under US or Alaska law.

In July 2013, the EPA's new Administrator Gina McCarthy was sworn in. In August, she travelled to southwest Alaska to tour the Pebble Project and speak with local communities and Alaska Natives. During her trip, McCarthy confirmed that the entire Bristol Bay Watershed Assessment process will be based on science. In the BBWA Executive Summary, the EPA states: "As a scientific assessment, it [the draft BBWA] does not discuss or recommend policy, legal, or regulatory decisions, nor does it outline or analyze options for future decisions....The purpose of the assessment is to characterize the biological and mineral resources of the Bristol Bay watershed, increase understanding of the impacts of large-scale mining on the region's fish resources, and inform future government decisions related to protecting and maintaining the physical, chemical, and biological integrity of the watershed".

Links to EPA's draft and final Bristol Bay Watershed Assessment report and Northern Dynasty's responses are provided below.

First Draft BBWA (May 18, 2012)

Executive Summary (PDF)
Volume I (PDF)
Volume II (PDF)
Volume III (PDF)

Revised Draft BBWA (April 30, 2013)

Executive Summary (PDF)
Volume I (PDF)
Volume II (PDF)
Volume III (PDF)

Final BBWA Report (January 2014)

Executive Summary(PDF)
Volume I(PDF)
Volume II(PDF)
Volume III(PDF)

Responses to the EPA

Northern Dynasty's submission on the revised draft BBWA report - May 30, 2013
Northern Dynasty's submission on the draft BBWA report - July 30, 2012
The Pebble Limited Partnership & Supporters responses to the EPA - Website