June 29, 2020

Chair DeFazio Presses Army Corps to Extend Upcoming Pebble Mine Deadline to Ensure Proper Consultation with Tribal Communities

Washington, D.C. – Today, Chair of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure Peter DeFazio (D-OR) sent a letter to Lieutenant General Todd T. Semonite of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) to push for an extension of the finalization of the Environmental Impact Statement as it relates to the Pebble Mine Project, due to concerns over lack of consultation and communication with local tribes and communities. 

“We have heard from several Alaska Native Tribal communities about their concerns

regarding the Pebble Permitting timeline and process. They do not feel that they have been

adequately and meaningfully consulted, which is only exacerbated by their concerns of the potential impacts of the novel Coronavirus to Alaska and its Native Tribes. Despite the concerns expressed by the tribal communities, the schedule for Pebble Mine Permit remains the same, and the United States Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) could release the final Environmental Impact Statement within the next several weeks. It is for the reasons above that I ask that your schedule be extended indefinitely until such time as the Corps can meet its obligation to fully consult with the tribal communities,” wrote DeFazio.

The proposed Pebble Mine project, if constructed, would be the largest open pit mine in North America. It is located in the Bristol Bay, Alaska watershed – home to the largest sockeye salmon run in the world and critical to the Alaska native villages, fishers, and businesses that rely on this pristine environment for their livelihood and way of life. 

A full copy of the letter can be found here.

Additional information:

On October 23, 2019, the Subcommittee on Water Resources and Environment held a hearing titled “The Pebble Mine Project: Process and Potential Impacts.” To hear from those who testified before the Committee, and who are directly affected by this proposed plan, click here.

In November 2019, DeFazio sent a letter to Lieutenant General Todd T. Semonite of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps), expressing his concerns with the Corps’ review of the Clean Water Act Permit for the development of an open pit mine to be constructed in the Bristol Bay watershed, Alaska. DeFazio urged the Corps to immediately prepare a revised Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) that addresses shortfalls contained in the earlier EIS. To read the full letter, click here

In July 2018, DeFazio and Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works Ranking Member Tom Carper (D-DE) sent a letter requesting an update on EPA’s environmental review of the proposed Pebble Mine project in Alaska, among other things. That letter can be found here