Dillingham, AK – Friday the Army Corps of Engineers announced it has selected a “least environmentally damaging practicable alternative” (LEDPA) for the Pebble Mine. The Corps stated Pebble has accepted the Corps’ recommendation for the “Northern route”, which local landowners have stated is not available.
The tribes met this news with skepticism as the Corps said the specifics of the LEDPA won’t be officially published until the Corps issues a record of decision, slated for this fall. The tribes are calling the Corps’ selection of the “Northern route,” merely the latest attempt by the Corps to fast-track the project permit regardless of scientific information and fact.
“The Corps can permit a fantasy mine but today’s announcement just proves this toxic project has no basis in reality, we will never trade our salmon for gold,” stated Keith Jensen, President of Pedro Bay Village Council. “Pedro Bay’s opposition to Pebble has not faltered, our tribal council has been opposed this toxic project for years. Today’s announcement by the Corps about the Northern transportation route doesn’t add up, as the major landowners have already and continue to say Pebble is not and will not be allowed to use their property.”
The Corps’ selection is particularly impractical given that multiple landowners along the selected transportation route have publicly declared that they will not grant Pebble access or permission to use the lands. Instead of acknowledging the problems with the route, the Corps is doing everything it can to complete the permitting process before the Presidential election, regardless of the near-unanimous criticism of the Corps’ analysis of the project from Congress, other federal agencies, and the region’s tribes.
“The people of Bristol Bay have been clear. The only acceptable alternative is the no-action alternative, meaning no mine and no permit. Pebble poses too great a threat to Bristol Bay fisheries & therefore our people,” said Robert Heyano, President of United Tribes of Bristol Bay. “The permitting process to date has failed Bristol Bay, throughout the environmental review, state and federal agencies have found severe deficiencies in Pebble’s plan and the Corps analysis of Pebble’s impacts. It is clear the Army Corps has no intent of conducting an adequate review and the project should be vetoed by the EPA.”