U.S. Army Corps Of Engineers Reverses Course, Approves Dredging Operation Near Nome

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers changed course one way on an Alaska mining project after it initially tentatively approved a Pebble Mine permit application. But the USACE went the other way and now as approved another controversial plan around the Nome area that’s had plenty of backlash over the region’s fish and wildlife ecosystems that could be affected.

Here’s the Alaska Beacon with more info:

It has been broadly opposed in Nome and the Bering Strait region, particularly by Native and fishing organizations. The proposed site is considered to hold important habitat for fish, marine mammals and birds, and it is heavily used for subsistence food harvests, opponents have said.

Among the opponents is Kawerak, a nonprofit tribal consortium serving people in the Bering Strait region.

“The entire Bonanza area is a subsistence use area throughout the year. People from Nome use this area year-round to gather eggs, hunt birds, fish for all species throughout the year, hunt for seals, and also for moose and bear hunting in the spring and fall as well as for berry picking and gathering greens in the summer,” Kawerak said in 2021 comments to the Corps.

IPOP and two of its investors, Edward and Elaine Abell of Lafayette, Louisiana, filed multiple lawsuitsagainst the Corps over the dredge permit. The lawsuits were filed in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Louisiana, the investors’ home region.

The first of the complaints was filed on May 20, 2022, before the Corps issued its denial. That lawsuit alleged that the Corps was dragging out its decision on the mine permit. It pointed out that plaintiff Edward Abell was 84 at the time. “He, and many investors in the project, may well die before IPOP ever commences operations, and their abuse at the hands of defendants cries out for a remedy,” the complaint said.