Murkowski wants Pebble comment period extension

Kodiak fishermen and their supporters demonstrated in front of the Kodiak Best Western Hotel on Friday, March 29, 2019, where ComFish was under way, demanding support from Alaska’s congressional delegation to stop permitting of the proposed Pebble Mine. Photo by Margaret Bauman/The Cordova Times

Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, is calling on the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to extend the public comment period on the draft environmental impact statement for the proposed Pebble mine project from 90 to 120 days.

The current public comment period ends on May 30.

The request comes as fishermen and processing companies all over Alaska, as well as from the Pacific Northwest, are preparing for the start of the salmon fishing season. An extension of the public comment period through the end of June would come with the fishery already underway.

Murkowski said in her letter to Alaska District Cmdr. Col. Phillip Borders that when the draft EIS was first posted she had raised concerns about the length of the comment period, given the size and scope of the project, as well as statewide interest.

“After carefully reviewing the DEIS, I’ve concluded Alaskans need more time,” she said. “The Corps permit is one of man y the proposed Pebble mine will ultimately need to acquire, but throughout this process I want Alaskans to have adequate time to review and weigh in on the project. I want Alaskans to have adequate time to review and weigh in on the project.”

“I expect their input to be taken seriously and fully considered in the development of the final EIS and the Record of Decision,” she said.


Murkowski also asked the corps to redouble its efforts to engage in meaningful consultation with the Alaska Natives who live in the Bristol Bay region, including ensuring local residents have the ability to provide input on the DEIS in a government-to-government setting in the region.