January 29, 2023

On December 1, 2022, EPA Region 10 Regional Administrator Casey Sixkiller submitted to the EPA Office of Assistant Water Administrator Radhika Fox a recommended provision under Section 404(c) of the Clean Water Act, the use of certain bodies of water in Alaska’s Bristol Bay watershed to prohibit and restrict disposal sites for certain discharges of dredged or fill material in connection with the development of the pebble deposit.

Casey Sixkiller, EPA Region 10 Administrator, said:

“EPA Region 10’s action represents the third step in the four-step review process of EPA’s Clean Water Act Section 404(c).”

“If confirmed by the EPA’s Office of Water, this action would help protect salmon fisheries that support world-class commercial and recreational fisheries and have supported Alaska’s Native American communities for thousands of years and a subsistence-based lifestyle for one of the last intact wild salmon cultures in the world.” ”

The Recommended Regulation proposes to prohibit the designation of certain United States bodies of water in the South Fork Koktuli River and North Fork Koktuli River watersheds as landfills for the discharge of dredged or fill material for the construction and routine operations of the mine plan described in the Pebble’s permit application Limited Partnership dated June 8, 2020 CWA Section 404 and future proposals to construct and operate a mine to develop the Pebble Deposit that would result in equal or greater losses or alterations to aquatic resources.

The recommended provision also proposes restricting the use of certain United States water bodies in the South Fork Koktuli River, North Fork Koktuli River and Upper Talarik Creek watersheds as landfill sites for the discharge of dredged or fill material in connection with future development proposals for the Pebble deposit that would have adverse effects of a similar or greater nature and magnitude to those associated with the 2020 mine plan.

The EPA’s Office of Water will now review the recommended determination and administrative records in support of Region 10’s decision, as well as all information provided by the United States Army Corps of Engineers, the owners of record and the applicant regarding their intent to take corrective action to prevent unacceptable side effects before making a final decision confirming, amending or overriding the recommended provision.

Read the article online at: https://www.globalminingreview.com/environment-sustainability/02122022/us-epa-proposes-mining-waste-disposal-ban-in-bristol-bay/

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