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U.S. Army Corps publishes scoping summary for Pebble EIS

Avery Lill/KDLG

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers released its final scoping report August 31 for the proposed Pebble Mine’s environmental impact statement.

The 90-day scoping period ended June 29. It was an opportunity for the public to voice concerns and possible alternatives to the proposed plan as part of the federal permitting process.

The Army Corps received 174,889 submissions. Socioeconomic impacts and the environmental review process were the topics most frequently addressed.

The summary of scoping comments was dominated by apprehension that the proposed mine would pose environmental and socioeconomic threat to the region. Among the specific concerns, commenters asked the Army Corps to consider possible impacts to air and water quality, subsistence and fisheries. On the other hand, some commenters pointed to possible economic benefits, such as more local jobs.

Organizations opposed to Pebble Mine, including Trout Unlimited and the United Tribes of Bristol Bay, have criticized the summary. 

“The scoping piece of the permitting process is really where the people of Bristol Bay, the people who will be most impacted by this, have the opportunity to talk about what concerns they have and what potential impacts should be considered. Those are not all included in this report,” said Alannah Hurley, executive director of UTBB.

UTBB is among the organizations that say the summary did not provide a thorough representation of scoping comments or enough details about how comments will be incorporated into the environmental impact statement.

The public will have another chance to provide input after the Army Corps releases its draft Environmental Impact Statement in January 2019.

Contact the author at 907-842-5281.

Izzy Ross is the news director at KDLG, the NPR member station in Dillingham. She reports, edits, and hosts stories from around the Bristol Bay region, and collaborates with other radio stations across the state.
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