DNR increases oversight of Pebble activities on state land
(Anchorage, AK) – After receiving more than 2,000 public comments and conducting an exhaustive analysis, the Department of Natural Resources has placed significant new requirements in a land-use permit authorizing the Pebble Limited Partnership to continue care, maintenance and reclamation on its mining claims in the Bristol Bay region.
During the comment period on Pebble’s permit application, many commenters questioned whether the hundreds of boreholes drilled during active exploration would be properly reclaimed, and raised concerns about the condition of certain boreholes. DNR reviewed these concerns as part of its analysis, and the permit DNR issued today includes a requirement for financial assurances as well as requirements for inspecting, reclaiming and closing boreholes in the 2017 field season. Not all boreholes would be closed during the permit term – roughly half of them would be maintained for data collection and monitoring. The company did not request and the permit does not authorize new exploration.
“It is unusual for a state land-use permit to get so much public attention, but it is not unusual for DNR to add stipulations to a land-use permit. We have carefully considered and applied new stipulations to this permit that are reasonable, comply with our legal requirements, and address concerns we heard in the comment period,” said Natural Resources Commissioner Andy Mack.
“We fully recognize that Pebble is a unique project, in terms of its size, location and amount of public interest. Our goal in issuing this permit is to ensure that state lands receive good stewardship, and that the Pebble Partnership is authorized to do necessary work on its claims,” Mack said.
DNR intends to conduct multiple site inspections during the 2017 field season to monitor reclamation activities. To read the permit documents, including the detailed response to public comments, go to http://dnr.alaska.gov/mlw/