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BBNC Applauds EPA for Release of Final Bristol Bay Watershed Assessment

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

January 15, 2014

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Andria Agli
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BBNC Applauds EPA for Release of Final Bristol Bay Watershed Assessment

Bristol Bay Native Corporation (BBNC) President and Chief Executive Officer Jason Metrokin is releasing the following statement concerning today’s release of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) final Bristol Bay Watershed Assessment:

“From the very beginning, EPA was in Bristol Bay because our federally recognized Tribes and Native organizations, including BBNC, asked them to be. With today’s release, science has weighed-in: Bristol Bay, its existing jobs and way of life could be irreparably damaged by a large-scale mine that is the size and scope of the Pebble project—and therefore, our fish, our people and our cultures must be protected.

“BBNC supports responsible development where it can be done without causing unacceptable risks to the people, cultures and fishing economy of our region. The proposed Pebble mine is not such a project. It’s time for the agency to initiate a 404(c) action to protect Bristol Bay.”

Today’s release concludes a thorough, three-year effort. EPA previously released two draft versions of the Watershed Assessment in May 2012 and April 2013 and went through two public comment periods that generated more than 1.1 million written comments. More than 98 percent of public comments received from the region were in support of the agency’s process and work. Both drafts were also peer-reviewed by twelve subject-matter experts who twice provided EPA comments on how to strengthen the Assessment. All of this input was reviewed and, where appropriate, incorporated into the final document.

The backbone of the analysis came from Northern Dynasty Minerals (NDM), the 100% owner of the Pebble claims and the Pebble Limited Partnership. The mining scenarios in the Watershed Assessment were based on water rights applications NDM filed with the State of Alaska and a 2011 technical report that the company filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission. 

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Bristol Bay Native Corporation (BBNC) is a responsible Alaska Native investment corporation dedicated to the mission of “Enriching Our Native Way of Life.” Established through the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act of 1971, BBNC works to ensure the continuation of the life and culture of its over 9,400 shareholders – the Eskimo, Indian and Aleut Natives of Southwest Alaska’s Bristol Bay region.