Northern Dynasty Submits Pebble Mitigation Plan To USACE

Northern Dynasty Minerals, which is heading up the Pebble Mine project, submitted to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers its Compensatory Mitigation Plan for the Pebble project just short of the 90-day deadline.

Here’s a bit of the press release:

Following publication of a positive Final Environmental Impact Statement (“EIS”) in July 2020, the USACEpublished its mitigation requirements for Pebble on August 20, 2020 and provided the Pebble Partnership with 90 days to submit a CMP to address them. Filing an approved CMP for the project is a necessary prerequisite to receiving a federal Record of Decision (“ROD”).

“The ‘in-kind’ and ‘in-watershed’ requirement for mitigation the USACE established for Pebble clearly sets a high bar for offsetting project effects on wetlands and other aquatic features, but it’s a challenge we have embraced and believe we can achieve,” said Ron Thiessen, Northern Dynasty President & CEO.

“Based on the findings of the Final EIS, we already know Pebble can operate safely and reliably, while fully protecting the water, fish and wildlife resources of Bristol Bay. Meeting the USACE’s challenging mitigation requirements provides even greater evidence that Pebble can and will co-exist with commercial, subsistence and sport fisheries in southwest Alaska.”

In addition to meeting the rigorous environmental standards enforced in the Clean Water Act and other US federal legislation, Thiessen said the Final EIS for Pebble indicates the project will make important, positive socioeconomic contributions to the region, the state and the nation.

“Pebble will also deliver the critical and strategic minerals the United States requires for its economic and military security,” he said, “while helping facilitate the transition to a ‘lower carbon future.’”

Here’s reaction from SalmonState:

SalmonState: Pebble’s mitigation plan inherently flawed; veto only way to defend Bristol Bay

Anchorage, AK—Northern Dynasty Minerals, the parent company of the Pebble Limited Partnership, announced today that it has submitted to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers the mitigation plan it hopes will allow its proposed open pit mine and toxic dump at the headwaters of Bristol Bay, Alaska to move forward. Bristol Bay is the planet’s greatest sockeye salmon run and has provided more than half the world’s sockeye salmon catch in recent years. Despite that, the area remains unprotected from destructive mining impacts. 

“You cannot ‘mitigate’ your way out of a toxic 200-year megamine at the headwaters of the world’s most important wild salmon habitat, which is pristine. This ‘plan’ is a continuation of a crooked process full of off-the-record, back-room deal conversations between the Pebble Limited Partnership, the Alaska District of the Army Corps of Engineers, politicians and political appointees,” said SalmonState executive director Tim Bristol. “The only way to defend the incomparable salmon resource of Bristol Bay — and to ensure fishermen, Tribes and Alaskans aren’t dragged through this rubber stamp ‘process’ all over again — is for the EPA to immediately veto the permit application through the Clean Water Act.” 

The Alaska District of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has a history of rubber stamping “mitigation” measures inconsistently and, at times, going against its own guidelines. It does not plan to make Pebble’s mitigation plan public until it has reviewed it and deemed it “compliant.”

Numerous independent mining experts and scientists have also identified the Final Environmental Impact Statement on which the mitigation plan is based as fatally flawed, which means the plan Pebble submitted would be grossly inadequate were mitigation even possible.