Conservation | Featured

Pebble’s new mitigation plan remains hidden from the public

The proposed Pebble Mine has submitted a mitigation plan to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, but the plan, intended to fix any problems the mine would cause to the Bristol Bay fishery, is being hidden from the public eye.
Fly Out Media photo.

This week, backers of the proposed Pebble Mine project in the world’s most prolific wild salmon region submitted a new compensatory mitigation plan to permit reviewers at the Army Corps of Engineers to determine if the plan would meet Clean Water Act standards. The plan has still not been shared with the public, likely because mitigating a pristine region is impossible.

This new mitigation plan was required by the Army Corps in an August announcement that Pebble’s plan would fail to meet Clean Water Act standards.  The Army Corps of Engineers sent Pebble back to the drawing board with 90 days to submit a new mitigation plan.  

“It’s telling that the Pebble Limited Partnership didn’t immediately release its mitigation plan to the public. For more than a decade they have worked either to hide details from the public or tell outright lies, which we’ve all now seen on tape. Nothing they put in a mitigation plan changes the fact that this project cannot and should not qualify for a permit. The Army Corps of Engineers should end this charade by immediately rejecting Pebble’s permit application.”

Nelli Williams, TU Alaska Program

Mitigation refers to the actions that Pebble would take to make up for the damage its project would have to Bristol Bay’s pristine and productive wetlands and waterways. In other instances, development companies perform mitigation by restoring wetlands, cleaning up polluted streams, or implementing a hatchery to restore fish numbers. But in Bristol Bay, a region that is nearly perfect with little to clean up or restore, mitigation is extremely challenging.

The only threat to the region is Pebble itself, and the only way to protect the region is for Pebble to go away. Tell your Members of Congress to urge the Corps to deny Pebble’s permit today.

Even though details have yet to be shared about how Pebble plans to make up for the devastating and permanent impacts the project would have, local business owners, legal experts, and Alaska’s elected leaders are calling for Pebble’s permit to be denied.  

“The Pebble Partnership’s mitigation plan should be dead on arrival,” said Williams. “The massive amounts of destruction proposed by the Pebble Partnership cannot be mitigated. This plan is a farce and the latest in a long string of lies by a company that is putting American businesses and fisheries in harm’s way. Any claim to have a mitigation plan that meets the requirements should be taken with a dump truck of salt.”

Pebble’s new mitigation plan comes after hundreds of thousands have watched the Pebble Tapes, which are secretly recorded videos of Pebble Limited Partnership and Northern Dynasty Minerals executives revealing plans to build a mine in Bristol Bay much larger than the one currently proposed.

“We know Pebble cannot be trusted. This whole permitting process is based on a sham proposal that completely failed to meet basic standards. This so-called ‘mitigation’ plan is no different,” said Nanci Morris Lyon, owner of Bear Trail Lodge in King Salmon, Alaska. “It is time to deny Pebble’s permit application and allow Bristol Bay to focus on more important and productive conversations about the future of our region.”

In October, Alaska’s Sen. Dan Sullivan firmly stated in an interview that he opposed the project, even with a new mitigation plan. With new opposition from Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski, the Pebble Limited Partnership faces growing opposition from Republican leaders who see that Pebble has failed to meet the standards of the Clean Water Act, and have shifted their attention to long term protections for the Bristol Bay region. Call on Alaska’s senators to urge the Corps to deny Pebble’s permit now.

Pebble had its chance to go through the permitting process, and was even given a second opportunity to meet standards. During that time, it did nothing but showcase its dishonest and fraudulent plans, and is still holding back details from the public. The time has come. The Army Corps of Engineers must deny Pebble’s permit today.  

Please write your members of Congress and ask them to urge the Army Corps to deny Pebble’s permit immediately and then finalize protections for the Bristol Bay region.