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Begich Statement on EPA’s Proposed Bristol Bay Designation


U.S. Senator Mark Begich issued the following statement today on the release of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) draft determination of the Bristol Bay 404c designation.

“This is a long and detailed determination, but based on initial review, the draft determination applies only to the Pebble deposit. The limited scope is critical and means the determination would not affect mining or any other resource development project in other parts of the state.  As I’ve often stated, I believe Pebble is the wrong mine in the wrong place. However, I remain a strong supporter of the mining industry and mines in other regions of Alaska and remain committed to ensuring that this process does not allow any precedent to be set that could restrict other responsible mining projects in Alaska or the U.S..

In the past I’ve encouraged the Pebble Partnership to go through the permitting process and nothing I’ve seen in this document would prevent Pebble from applying for a permit. Instead it sets the ground rules for responsible development that the Pebble Partnership, or any other business, must abide by in order to mine the Pebble deposit in this critical habitat.  Alaskans agree that we cannot develop one resource – copper – at the expense of our world class salmon fisheries and the communities and families who depend on salmon for jobs and subsistence.”

Sen. Begich received the draft determination today and will continue to review it. 

Today’s notice included the announcement of a 60-day public comment period beginning July 18, 2014.  During the comment period, EPA will hold several public hearings. The Anchorage hearing is tentatively scheduled for Tuesday, Aug 12 and hearings are planned for Dillingham and villages in the region.

More information about the draft determination can be found here.

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