The Alaska Journal of Commerce reported that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Alaska District will extend the public scoping period from 30 to 90 days. Here’s more on what this means for stakeholders in the proposed mine and its impact on the ecosystem:
The Pebble EIS scoping period, which began April 1, will now run until June 29 instead of the original April 30 closing date.
Scoping, as the name implies, is when the public and cooperating government agencies are asked to submit the scope of potential environmental and socioeconomic impacts that should be studied in a proposed development’s EIS.
The Corps of Engineers has also had an invitation out to 35 recognized Tribes for government-to-government consultation during the Pebble EIS process since Jan. 12, according to a March 30 press release.
The extension comes after repeated calls for such an action from not only opponents to the project but also Sen. Lisa Murkowski and Gov. Bill Walker’s administration.
Murkowski wrote to Corps of Engineers Alaska leaders April 3 in part requesting they consider the concerns of those who feel 30 days for scoping “may be insufficient for a project of this magnitude and potential impact.”
Murkowski also emphasized that she remains neutral on Pebble, but she strongly objected to the Environmental Protection Agency’s move in 2014 to preemptively stop the project. Walker has repeatedly stated he is against the Pebble project going back to his 2014 campaign for governor.
EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt decided in January to not lift the proposed restrictions on Pebble in a move that suprised the mine’s opponents. but because nothing was made final the project can still move forward under the regular permitting process.