EPA seeks comment to withdraw Pebble Mine from Clean Water Act

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency proposes to withdraw its July 2014 Clean Water Act Proposed Determination that would, if finalized, have imposed restrictions on the discharge of dredged or fill material associated with the potential Pebble Mine in Alaska’s Bristol Bay watershed, EPA said in a press release.

EPA agreed to initiate a proposed withdrawal process pursuant to policy direction from EPA’s Administrator, and as part of a May 2017 settlement agreement with the Pebble Limited Partnership that resolved litigation from 2014. Pebble’s subsidiaries own the mineral claims to the Pebble deposit.

EPA seeks comment on whether to withdraw the Proposed Determination, and whether the EPA administrator should review the withdrawal decision if such a decision is made. EPA is also consulting on the proposed withdrawal with federally-recognized tribal governments of the Bristol Bay region and with Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act Regional and Village Corporations with lands in the Bristol Bay watershed.

The public comment and consultation period closes on Oct. 17. After the close of the public comment and consultation process, the EPA will decide whether to issue a final withdrawal of the 2014 Proposed Determination at this time. Comments may be emailed to: ow-docket@epa.gov with docket number EPA-R10-OW-2017-0369 in the email subject line. For more information, visit https://www.epa.gov/bristolbay. For general questions, call 206 553‑0040 or email r10bristolbay@epa.gov.