DNR Revives Bristol Bay Advisory Group and Issues Pebble Exploration Permit
A small cluster of sockeye salmon in one of Bristol Bay's rivers.
Credit: Thomas Quinn, University of Washington / US Environmental Protection Agency
ANCHORAGE, AK—After careful review, the Department of Natural Resources is taking steps to reestablish the Bristol Bay Advisory Group, originally created to provide input on the 1984 Bristol Bay Area Plan (BBAP).
By reestablishing the group, DNR intends to foster dialogue on land use, resource management, and regulatory matters under state purview in the Bristol Bay region. DNR anticipates the BBAG will review and may recommend changes to the BBAP. In upcoming weeks, DNR will solicit applications for seats on the advisory group and schedule a public meeting to gather input on the scope of the advisory group. Meetings will be in the Bristol Bay region and open to the public.
“We are taking steps under our existing statutory authorities to boost the State of Alaska’s engagement with Bristol Bay stakeholders. We see the advisory group as an important way to accomplish this goal,” said Natural Resources Commissioner Andy Mack.
Separately, DNR has issued a permit for the Pebble Limited Partnership to conduct activities in the 2018 field season on its mining claims in the Bristol Bay region.
While the company has begun a federal environmental review process for mine development, it has not applied for the state permits necessary to develop a mine. DNR’s land-use permit authorizes only exploration and reclamation-related activities.
“By issuing this permit, we authorize the Pebble Limited Partnership to do necessary work on its claims and ensure that state lands receive good stewardship,” Mack said.
DNR maintained stipulations it added to the company’s previous land-use permit, including requirements for financial assurances. The company complied with those stipulations and closed 142 boreholes last year. DNR plans multiple inspections during the 2018 field season to monitor both the drilling of new boreholes and continued reclamation activity. To read the permit decision and other project-related documents, go to http://dnr.alaska.gov/mlw/mining/largemine/pebble/.