Action Alert: P
ublic Scoping for the Pebble Project Environmental Impact Statement
Comment deadline: June 29, 2018


The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) is preparing an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) and has initiated the scoping process to analyze the newly filed development plan for the Pebble prospect (Pebble) copper-gold-molybdenum porphyry deposit in Southwest Alaska. The EIS scoping public comment period ends June 29, 2018. The scoping phase of the federal process provides opportunities for public input about the range of issues the Corps should consider in their review of the proposed project, including alternatives to a newly-proposed mine plan put forward by project proponents. The EIS itself will identify potential impacts on the physical, biological, and social environment from all phases of the project. The EIS will also look at proposed mitigation measures. 

The Pebble project is located 200 miles southwest of Anchorage and approximately 200 river miles north of Bristol Bay. Proposed project components consists of four facilities – the mine site and associated facilities, a port on Cook Inlet, a transportation corridor, including a road system connecting the mine site to the port and ferry terminals on Lake Iliamna, and a 188-mile natural gas pipeline system from the west side of Cook Inlet to the mine. Project construction would take approximately four years and employ 2,000 workers. Operations employment is estimated at 850 workers.

The Corps is estimating it will take two years to complete the entire EIS process.  This initial scoping process offers stakeholders the opportunity to offer the Corps suggestions on what to include in the Draft EIS, including socio-economic benefits, impacts of developing the project, and more

Pebble applied in December for a permit from the Corps, which is leading the federal environmental review of the project. The new mine plan, which was re-designed to address numerous stakeholder concerns, reduces the project’s footprint to less than half the size previously envisaged, an area smaller than Ted Stevens International Airport in Anchorage. It would land the project in the ballpark or close in size to what the Obama-era EPA consider environmentally acceptable. The new plan also consolidates most major site infrastructure in a single drainage with the absence of any primary mine operations in the Upper Talarik drainage.

Additional information on the scoping period and the permitting process is available at:


Action requested:

The Corps welcomes scoping comments on the proposed project and encourages the public to attend scoping meetings: seven in the Bristol Bay region and one each in Homer and Anchorage. At the meetings, comments can be given orally to a court reporter, or electronically submitted using one of a number of dedicated laptop computers. No formal testimony will be taken. Participants can bring written comments to the meeting or submit them online or by mail. It is important for supporters of responsible resource development to help ensure the Corps review includes analyzing all of the potential benefits to the communities around the project and to the State of Alaska. 

Southcentral Public meetings:

Homer: Wednesday, April 11, Homer High School, 5:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.
Anchorage: Thursday, April 19, Dena’ina Center, 11:00 a.m. – 9:00 p.m.

Submit comments online


Mail to:
Program Manager, Regulatory Division
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
P.O. Box 6898
Joint Base Elmendorf Richardson, AK 99506-0898

Points to consider in your comments:


  • In response to issues and concerns raised by stakeholders, the newly proposed mine plan for developing the Pebble deposit has been substantially improved over what was previously envisioned. The new proposal reduces the project’s footprint to less than half its original size.
  • The EIS should consider and recognize the extensive mitigation measures that Pebble has built into the new proposed plan to address environmental and stakeholder concerns.
  • The proposed project design and the environmental safeguards it incorporates, as well as the significant social and economic benefits it represents for the region, state, and nation, not just from jobs, but royalties and other payments, should be considered fairly and incorporated into the EIS.
  • The proposed road corridor has been designed to minimize impact on wetlands, minimize stream crossings and avoid areas of known for subsistence and recreational use.
  • The proposed action shows Pebble has made great strides to responsibly design a project with minimal impact, and which meets Alaska's highest environmental standards.
  • Pebble, along with the world's leading scientists, have diligently studied the environment to design a plan that best co-exists with the surrounding elements.  These studies have placed significant emphasis on analyzing the fish and water resources in and around the proposed project.  These studies must be fairly evaluated and considered via the EIS review process.
  • The design takes into accounts Alaska’s largest earthquakes, reduces wetlands impacts by 52 percent, and the open pit is 53% smaller. The plan has removed permanent waste rock piles from the mine facilities and eliminates the use of cyanide at the plant.
  • Under the new plan, all water is captured and carefully treated prior to discharge.
  • Reduced road miles in the new plan means fewer culverts and stream crossings.
  • The Pebble deposit is an important statewide economic asset, located on State of Alaska land designated for mineral exploration and development.
  • The Southwest region of Alaska faces high costs of living and the project’s potential economic contribution to the region should be thoroughly evaluated.  The project would bring expanded energy infrastructure to the region, potentially lowering the cost of energy, benefitting both residential and commercial users. This should also be reflected in the EIS.
  • With the growing worldwide consumption and dependence upon technical products powered by critical minerals such as copper, the expanding demand for renewable energy technologies, and the development of projects with strategic national significance, the Pebble deposit has the potential to generate hundreds of millions in annual economic activity for Alaska, as well as significant revenues for state and local governments.
  • The Pebble project will also create family-wage, year-round jobs and training opportunities in Southwest Alaska, and supply and service contracts for local businesses.
  • The Pebble project is expected to directly employ 2,000 workers during construction and 850 workers during its 20-year operation phase. These new job opportunities will reduce out-migration, which will help maintain rural schools and allow people in the region maintain subsistence activities in their lives.
  • The State of Alaska depends on the responsible development of natural resources on its lands to diversify and support its economy.
  • To date, no thorough evaluation of the technical information has been undertaken by a regulatory agency. The EIS should review all data gathered by the company as part of a rigorous and complete analysis of the project’s plan.  This should include how the company will responsibly operate a mine and balance this with environmental protection.
  • Alaska has a strong track record of responsible mineral development. The Pebble Project will require a multitude of state and federal permits prior to securing final approval. The Corps evaluation should include the type of authorizations required for a mine like Pebble and the information required to support these decisions.


 Comment deadline: June 29, 2018