Bristol Bay in the News, Dec 12, 2012

Bristol Bay in the News


Northern Dynasty CEO remains optimistic about future of Pebble Mine project in Alaska

By Becky Bohrer

Associated Press


Critics have sought to cast Anglo's departure as a sign the project is in trouble but Thiessen brushed any such suggestions aside. He said the goals now are to finish compiling project data in a reading room that will be made available for prospective partners doing their due diligence, and to finish by February the remaining documentation required to initiate permitting.

He could not say whether Northern Dynasty would move into permitting at that point or wait for a partner; that's expected to be decided closer to that actual time. He said the process of finding a partner could take six to 12 months and will start in earnest soon. He said if it appears the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is moving to take pre-emptive steps to in any way restrict permitting for the project, the company would probably launch the permitting process on its own without waiting for a partner… click here for full article.


Pebble Mine Executive Says Northern Dynasty Can Manage Giant Alaskan Copper Mine Alone, If Necessary

By Nat Rudarakanchana

International Business Times


Critics have challenged developers for years to submit permits, so that the project’s environmental impacts can be measured after they commit to a specific mine project. They have argued that hesitation to submit permit and project plans means that developers can make bogus claims about job creation without committing to specific mine plans.

Critics have also encouraged the Environmental Permit Agency to pre-emptively shut down the project with a veto, which it can do under its authority to regulate wetlands. The agency has declined to comment officially on the veto question so far, though new EPA chief Gina McCarthy visited Alaska to meet with affected Alaskan natives and developers earlier this year… click here for full article.


Bristol Bay Driftnet Permits Increase in Value

By Mike Mason



The value of Bristol Bay driftnet permits continues to increase.

The value placed on those permits by the Commercial Fisheries Entry Commission jumped up over $14,000 to about $117,000. That’s compared to the more than $102,000 dollars value recorded back in October. The November figure of about $117,000 is the largest value for Bristol Bay driftnet permits in over a year.

The Commercial Fisheries Entry Commission bases their value on the actual prices that permits are sold for but there is a lag, sometimes as much as a couple of months. A look around some of the brokerage sites shows quite a bit of variation in the prices for Bristol Bay driftnet permits… click here to read more.


Farm To Fork Across America: Wild Alaskan Salmon Running for Their Lives

By Julie Ann Fineman

The Huffington Post


Well right now, one of the biggest things that we're battling is Pebble Mine. If approved, it would be one of the largest open-pit gold and copper mines in the world. It's slated to go in at the headwaters of where our fish return. If you look at a map of that area it's riddled with lakes and rivers. It's all tundra, basically, marshland. It's a monstrosity of a mine and there's no way that these two industries can co-exist. So right now, what's really important is that people know about it. People need to speak out, and decide that salmon is more important than mining for gold.

They are an amazing species, I think it's fascinating that the salmon not only return to their natal stream, but they spawn within feet from their birth spot. Why wouldn't you want that to be protected? Right now we have this beautiful abundance, a sustainable resource, the largest run of sockeye salmon in the entire world! Why put it at jeopardy?... click here to read more.


Worst place for a major mine?

By Krista Langlois & Ray Ring

High Country News


Copper and gold prices have declined, however, even as political opposition to the mine has risen. Britain-based Anglo-American, the giant mining company that helped form the Pebble Limited Partnership in 2007, withdrew last September, absorbing $541 million in losses. The other key company, Canadian-based Northern Dynasty, suffered a 38 percent drop in its stock price following the announcement. In order to recruit another partner and make it past the permitting process, the company might have to adopt a less risky plan.

Nine tribes have urged the federal Environmental Protection Agency to invoke a seldom-used veto power – authorized by Section 404(c) of the Clean Water Act – to block the project. The EPA's three-year study of its potential impacts is nearing completion, and the latest draft, released last April, largely supports concerns that habitat loss and pollution could affect some of the 37.5 million sockeye salmon (46 percent of the world's total) that spawn in Bristol Bay rivers. The EPA notes that the mine could consume nearly a hundred miles of spawning streams and large wetlands while generating acid mine drainage and copper toxic to salmonids. Pebble's mining waste "would require management for centuries or even perpetuity."… click here for full article.


Mark Twain and the Pebble Mine

By Joel Reynolds

NRDC Switchboard


Notably, Mr. Thiessen begins his plea for investors with the famous quotation from Mark Twain about his death being “an exaggeration.”  In the case of Pebble Mine, perhaps a more apt Mark Twain quote would have been his definition of a mine – that is, “a hole in the ground owned by liars.”

As Anglo American figured out (along with Mitsubishi Corporation when it withdrew in 2010), the Pebble Mine is unlikely to be built any time soon. That’s because opposition to this uniquely reckless project is deep and wide-ranging, consistently polling at over 80 percent opposition in the Bristol Bay region and 60 percent opposition state wide.  One of the reasons is that, according to EPA’s comprehensive Watershed Assessment, Pebble will have devastating (even catastrophic) impacts on the region and the Bristol Bay wild salmon fishery, the greatest of its kind in the world… click here for full article. 


Outdoors: Thankful for wild places

By Ted Clarkson

The Richmond Times-Dispatch


At the same time, I am afraid we are losing these wild places at a rate that may be too great to stop. What then? What happens when the wild places are gone?

It’s too easy to be disconnected with the natural world. Someone recently said to me, “I don’t like being outdoors.” I was baffled.

We are not likely to protect or care for something we don’t love, and even less something we don’t even know.

Sometimes the task seems too daunting. After all, how can I save Bristol Bay in Alaska from the pebble mine or protect the wild steelhead and salmon on Washington’s Olympic Peninsula, especially with pressing local issues such as fracking in the George Washington National Forest to worry about?... click here for full article.


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