Judy Cavanaugh stands with others at a rally against the Pebble Mine in front of Sen. Lisa Murkowski’s Juneau office in June 2019. The Army Corps of Engineers has accepted a request for administrative appeal filed by Pebble Limited Partnership. A similar effort by the state was reject, Gov. Mike Dunleavy said in a news release. (Michael Penn / Juneau Empire File)

Judy Cavanaugh stands with others at a rally against the Pebble Mine in front of Sen. Lisa Murkowski’s Juneau office in June 2019. The Army Corps of Engineers has accepted a request for administrative appeal filed by Pebble Limited Partnership. A similar effort by the state was reject, Gov. Mike Dunleavy said in a news release. (Michael Penn / Juneau Empire File)

2 Pebble appeals, 2 different outcomes

Governor says states appeal rejected, but partnership appeal moves forward.

Two requests to appeal the decision to deny a key permit for a proposed copper and gold mine in Southwest Alaska met different fates.

The Army Corps of Engineers didn’t accept the state’s attempt to appeal a November 2020 decision to deny a permit for the proposed Pebble Mine, a long-controversial effort to place an open-pit mine near the headwarters of the largest sockeye salmon fishery in the world.

Meanwhile, Northern Dynasty Minerals Ltd., the Vancouver-based parent company of Pebble Limited Partnership, reports that a Feb. 24 letter indicated the corps accepted Pebble’s request for an administrative appeal.

Mike Heatwole, a spokesperson for Pebble Limited Partnership, said Saturday in an email Pebble looks forward to having the appeal fully vetted.

In an email, Luciano Vera, deputy chief of public affairs for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Pacific Ocean Division, said the division engineer determined that the state does not meet the definition of an “affected party.”

Gov. Mike Dunleavy vehemently disagreed with the determination in a fiery Friday news release.

“This is another example of the federal government imposing a flawed decision that blocks Alaska’s ability to responsibly develop its land and resources,” Dunleavy said in the release. “That authority and obligation were laid out in the Alaska Statehood Act and the Alaska Constitution, so I can’t overemphasize the far reaching implications that federal decisions like this have on our ability to have a sustainable and growing economy. This is a precedent setting decision that puts all possible resource development projects on State land at risk and cannot be accepted. We will not stop fighting for Alaska’s economic prosperity.”

The appeal efforts were not well-received by a tribal consortium working to protect the lands and waters of Bristol Bay.

“Recent updates on the efforts to appeal the Army Corps denial of the Pebble’s permit highlights the urgent need for permanent protections in Bristol Bay,” said United Tribes of Bristol Bay Executive Director Alannah Hurley in a statement provided by a spokesperson. “Ongoing questions surrounding Pebble’s appeal create uncertainty and confusion for all those who depend on Bristol Bay’s robust natural resources. The Tribes, communities and others who rely on Bristol Bay need the assurance of Clean Water Act protections that these pristine lands and waters will remain intact for years and generations to come.”

Exactly how soon a final decision regarding the accepted appeal will be made is unclear.

A corps division engineer typically makes a final decision on the merits of an appeal within 90 days of receipt of an acceptable request for appeal, according to the corps’ administrative appeal process. However, delays to a site visit can potentially extend the process.

According to the corps’ appeal process, in no case will such a delay extend the total process past a year from the date of receipt of an acceptable request for appeal.

• Contact Ben Hohenstatt at (907)308-4895 or bhohenstatt@juneauempire.com. Follow him on Twitter at @BenHohenstatt.

More in News

This undated electron microscope image made available by the U.S. National Institutes of Health in February 2020 shows the Novel Coronavirus SARS-CoV-2, yellow, emerging from the surface of cells, blue/pink, cultured in the lab. Also known as 2019-nCoV, the virus causes COVID-19. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP, NIAID-RML
COVID at a glance for Tuesday, Sept. 21

The most recent state and local figures

Courtesy Photo / Molly Pressler Collection
Japanese-Americans interned in Alaska in World War II are shown in this photo at a camp in New Mexico where they endured the majority of the war.
Research into interned Japanese-Americans in Alaska receives grant support

104 Japanese-Americans were interned from Alaska at the outset of WWII.

This undated electron microscope image made available by the U.S. National Institutes of Health in February 2020 shows the Novel Coronavirus SARS-CoV-2, yellow, emerging from the surface of cells, blue/pink, cultured in the lab. Also known as 2019-nCoV, the virus causes COVID-19. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP, NIAID-RML
COVID at a glance for Monday, Sept. 20

The most recent state and local figures

It's a police car until you look closely. The eye shies away, the . (Juneau Empire File / Michael Penn)
Police calls for Tuesday, Sept. 21, 2021

This report contains public information from law enforcement and public safety agencies.

It's a police car until you look closely and see the details don't quite match. (Juneau Empire File / Michael Penn)
Police calls for Sunday, Sept. 19, 2021

This report contains public information available to the Empire from law enforcement… Continue reading

It's a police car until you look closely and see the details don't quite match. (Juneau Empire File / Michael Penn)
Police calls for Friday, Sept. 17, 2021

This report contains public information from law enforcement and public safety agencies.

The author managed to take a grouse despite being deep in thought for a good half hour of his deer hunt. He made jalapeno poppers that night.
Internal dialogue of a hunter (Jeff Lund / For the Juneau Empire)
I Went to the Woods: The internal dialogue of a hunter

There is always something that comes to mind when I am outside.

Most Read