P E BB L E PRO J E C T NE W S L E TTER
Table of Contents INSIDE Environmental Baseline Document for Public Release Pebble Partnership Scholarships Myth Busting! Pebble Fund Grants
2011 Site Work Begins Pebble work crews returned to the Iliamna offices in mid-January to start the 2011 season, including members from the environmental team, technical operations and safety, as well as local workers from Newhalen and Kokhanok. A small crew of four staffed the office during the winter hiatus Dec. 15, 2010 – Jan. 15, 2011. The first environmental team on site for 2011 was SLR Alaska, which checked water levels at more than 370 holes. A second crew from SLR Alaska checked water levels at West Bay, a deep water well near the Pebble deposit, as well as monitored meteorological stations at the project site and in Iniskin Bay for maintenance and data retrieval. Both teams from SLR Alaska utilized the Hughes 500 Helicopter flown by local pilot John Baechler Jr. and assisted by local resident Ray Wassilie. For the past several years, groundwater levels have been measured consistently by consultants in and around the project area at more than 470 locations. Groundwater level measurements provide hydrologists with consistent base flow information used
Research is an all-season endeavor at Pebble.
with surface water data to understand the relationship between the two throughout the project area. The next team of consultants scheduled for site work are from Alaska Biological Research Inc. (ABR), conducting sea otter and Steller’s eider studies. Steller’s eiders and sea otters are listed as threatened species in Alaska. Consultants for the Pebble Partnership have been flying surveys of the populations in Iliamna Bay and Iniskin Bay since 2004. Surveys in 2010 were conducted monthly, with multiple surveys conducted during months when birds and otters are seasonally present during winter.
Pebble Supports Local Wrestlers In November 2010, the Pebble Partnership lent its support to the Newhalen wrestling team, donating six turkeys for a raffle. Ninety tickets were sold at $5 each, raising $450 to help pay airfare, hotel and car rental for the wrestling team to travel to the regional state wrestling matches for small schools, held in Bethel Dec. 3-5, 2010. The Newhalen team sent seven wrestlers to the tournament, where they placed third, fourth, fifth, and four in sixth place, in their respective weight classes. Congratulations to the Newhalen wrestling team for their athletic achievements!
Environmental Baseline Document Scheduled for Public Release The Pebble Partnership is committed to developing the Pebble Project in a manner that provides long-term benefits for local communities while protecting the environment and traditional ways of life. Environmental baseline studies are a cornerstone of environmental planning. Data collected from these rigorous studies characterize the project area’s natural environment. To date, more than $100 million has been invested in environmental and socioeconomic studies conducted by 50 independent consulting firms and 500 independent global and Alaska scientists. The benchmark data, which has been in collection at the Pebble deposit and surrounding areas since 2004, is being compiled for release to the public and local communities as an Environmental Baseline Document (EBD). The EBD is designed to incorporate important regional environmental and cultural values and is among the most comprehensive preproduction environmental databases ever produced in Alaska for a mining venture. The EBD guides how the project can be responsibly designed and maintained with extensive research in 53 categories
Understanding water within the Pebble deposit area is a key component of the ongoing environmental studies.
including physical environmental factors such as air, hydrology, water quality, noise and geology; biological environmental factors such as wetlands, fish and wildlife; and human environmental factors such as land use, socioeconomics, cultural resources, traditional knowledge and more. The EBD is being prepared by third-party consultants to the Pebble Partnership and should be available to local communities in the spring.
Pebble Partnership Awards Scholarships The Pebble Partnership’s new scholarship program is off to a successful start. In the fall of 2010, nine students were awarded scholarships totaling $22,000. In January 2011, an additional $42,000 in scholarships were awarded: eight totaling $18,000 to continuing students and 12 to new students totaling $24,000. Recipients of the scholarship program are attending a wide range of universities and colleges throughout Alaska, Washington and California. Students from the area who received scholarship funds are from the communities of Newhalen, King Salmon, Dillingham, Port Alsworth, Naknek, Igiugig, Pedro Bay and New Stuyahok. The Pebble Partnership’s scholarship program is aimed at providing long-term career opportunities for Alaska students in the fields of project management, operations, geology, science, engineering and other support roles related to responsible natural resource development. The program is applicable to both undergraduate/graduate studies and vocational/technical training schools.
The goal of the scholarship program is threefold: promote local hire, maximize job opportunities for Alaskans and provide educational avenues for building sustainable communities in Southwest Alaska. Applicants can apply for financial aid at any time. A separate review board evaluates applications quarterly. “Providing educational opportunities that support natural resource development careers, meets one of the Pebble Partnership’s core values – helping to build sustainable communities – while at the same time providing industrial partners with a technologically trained workforce,” said John Shively, CEO of The Pebble Partnership.
Entities opposed to allowing the Pebble project the opportunity to participate in the established permitting process claim that permitting and regulatory oversight is insufficient.
The process of environmentally permitting a large hard rock mine in Alaska is exhaustive and complex, with some of the most stringent environmental standards in the world. A minimum of 12 state and federal agencies closely monitor and provide input as to how a project will be built and oversee all aspects of the permitting process, from the initial stages through reclamation. The permitting process includes six major steps compliant with federal and state laws and regulations: • Baseline studies • Project design • Permitting applications
• NEPA (National Environmental Protection Act), including an EIS (Environmental Impact Statement) • Public comment and input • Permit issuance
Regulatory requirements for large projects begin at exploration and extend well beyond permitting and operations through reclamation and closure. This includes an extensive environmental monitoring plan required for each phase of development through post closure and a mandatory, state-controlled, preconstruction financial bond package to guarantee sufficient funds are available to responsibly close and reclaim the mine area at any stage of development or operation. There are 67 major types of federal, state and local government permits, approvals and other authorizations that will likely be required for the Pebble project before construction and operations can begin. A substantial number of these require public review. SAMPLE FEDERAL AGENCIES U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (COE) National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA)
SAMPLE STATE OF ALASKA AGENCIES
SAMPLE LOCAL GOVERNMENT AGENCIES
Department of Natural Resources
Lake and Peninsula Borough
Department of Fish & Game (ADF&G) Department of Environmental Conservation (ADEC) Department of Transportation & Public Facilities (ADOT/PF) Department of Public Safety
Federal Communications Commission (FCC) U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) www.pebblepartnership.com
3201 C Street, Suite 604 Anchorage, AK USA 99503 (907) 339-2600 Toll-free: 1 (877) 450-2600 www.pebblepartnership.com
Pebble Fund Accepting Applications for Spring Grant Cycle
tainable Com m t i es
Established in 2008 as part of a five-year, $5 million sustainable community development plan for the region, Pebble Fund grants have helped to leverage more than $12 million in matching funds from other organizations.
To date, roughly $2.5 million in grant monies has been distributed from the Pebble Fund throughout 22 Southwest Alaska communities during the past two years. Seventy-three wide-ranging projects have benefited from the Pebble Fund including a renewable energy greenhouse powered by wind turbines in Igiugig; a food bank benefiting the communities of Naknek, King Salmon and South Naknek; and a super diesel fuel project with the Bristol Bay School District.
Grant criteria and grant awards are determined by an independent advisory board comprised of representatives from across Southwest Alaska. Administered by the Alaska Community Foundation, applications are assessed twice annually and are only accepted electronically. Applications for the next grant review cycle are available at www.alaskacf.org within the Competitive Grants section. The Alaska Community Foundation Web site offers helpful hints for Pebble Fund applicants, as well as webinar slides that walk applicants through the criteria and application process.
The Pebble Partnershipâ€™s commitment to supporting the development of sustainable communities in Southwest Alaska continues with the spring Pebble Fund grant cycle. Applications for the spring grant cycle, which are due by 9 p.m. Alaska Standard Time on Feb. 28, 2011, are currently being accepted by the Alaska Community Foundation.
Made possible by the Pebble Fund