Seattle was the location for the EPA’s first of several public hearings surrounding its draft assessment of the Bristol Bay, and how the proposed Pebble Mine might impact the fishery. The draft assessment is warning that there are potential dangers to the fishery if the Pebble Mine is developed. The majority of those attending the EPA meeting in Seattle agreed. Comments were made by environmentalists, fishing organizations, and native Alaska groups. Meanwhile, Sean Magee of Northern Dynasty, a part owner to the Pebble Mine, was there to openly comment against the EPA’s study and the location for its first public hearing. Pebble Partnership spokesperson Mike Heatwole spoke to our news department, today, repeating Magee’s concerns.
Heatwole says the EPA draft assessment was only undertaken 11 months ago, and, released to the public two weeks ago. He says the EPA should not expect Alaskans to step aside from their busy summers to review this assessment and thoroughly comment on it. Heatwole also is repeating that the assessment is inadequate, and, the EPA should suspend its assessment work until it can be done right.
Senator Maria Cantwell of Washington is an opponent of the Pebble Mine. She actually requested that the EPA hold one of its public hearings on the Bristol Bay assessment in Seattle. Cantwell says the Bristol Bay fishery is an important resource for the fishing industry in Seattle.