BBNC Applauds Senator Murkowski for Using Appropriations Power to Protect Bristol Bay

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September 26, 2019

Dan Cheyette, Vice President, Lands and Natural Resources
(907) 278-3602

BBNC Applauds Senator Murkowski for Using Appropriations Power to Protect Bristol Bay
Senator Murkowski leads effort to demand the Army Corps respond to data gaps in Pebble DEIS

ANCHORAGE, AK – Today, Senator Lisa Murkowski followed through on her promise to protect
Bristol Bay using her seat on the Appropriations Committee. The U.S. Senate version of the
2020 Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies Appropriations Bill concurs with the critical
findings and concerns of federal agencies involved in the Pebble mine permitting process and
encourages these agencies to work with the Army Corps of Engineers to ensure their concerns
are addressed. The bill is the product of leadership by Senator Murkowski, who chairs the
Senate subcommittee tasked with appropriating funds for the Department of Interior,
Environmental Protection Agency, and other relevant agencies. The full Senate Appropriations
Committee approved the bill this morning.

Senator Dan Sullivan also commented on Pebble yesterday during a “Fishery Failures” hearing
in the Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee. Citing those same critical findings of
the federal agencies that commented on the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS),
Sullivan stated, “The burden of proof is now on Pebble and the Corps to substantially address
these concerns based on science as required by law. This is a high bar and, as I’ve repeatedly
said, we can’t trade one resource for another….”

Senator Murkowski expressed her frustration with the DEIS for the proposed Pebble mine
during the recent Bristol Bay Wild Salmon Celebration in Washington, D.C., sponsored by
Bristol Bay Native Corporation (BBNC). Senator Murkowski pledged that she would use her seat
on the Appropriations Committee to put her frustrations into legislative action.

“We stand with Senator Murkowski because she stands with the people, fish, and way of life
that are unique to Bristol Bay,” said BBNC President and CEO Jason Metrokin. “BBNC and the
people of Bristol Bay appreciate Senator Murkowski’s willingness to use her position on the
Appropriations Committee to make it clear that the current draft environmental impact statement
for Pebble mine is entirely inadequate and unacceptable. We look forward to continuing to work
with both of our Senators so that federal and state agencies exercise their full authorities and
demand answers to their very real concerns about the current mine proposal.”

During the Bristol Bay Wild Salmon Celebration, Senator Murkowski said: “If a mine cannot
stand on its own without negative impact to the fisheries resource, then that mine should not be

Highlights of the language included in the appropriations bill include:

The Committee shares the agencies’ concerns that the DEIS lacks certain critical information
about the proposed project and related mitigation and therefore likely underestimates its
potential risks and impacts. Sound science must guide Federal decision making and all gaps
and deficiencies identified in comments from Federal agencies and other stakeholders,
including Alaska Natives, must be fully addressed, even if that requires additional scientific
study, data collection, and more comprehensive analysis of the project’s potential impacts.


Adverse impacts to Alaska’s world-class salmon fishery and to the ecosystem of Bristol Bay,
Alaska, are unacceptable. To the extent DOI, EPA, or NMFS are not satisfied with the Army
Corps’ analysis of the project, the agencies are encouraged to exercise their discretionary
authorities, which include EPA’s enforcement authority under the Clean Water Act, at an
appropriate time in the permitting process to ensure the full protection of the region.

“This is a true turning point for Pebble mine and the agencies in charge of scrutinizing and
analyzing the mine plan,” continued Metrokin. “Senator Murkowski has made it clear that the
status quo is unacceptable.”


About BBNC: Bristol Bay Native Corporation 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 protect the land in Bristol Bay,
celebrate the legacy of its people, and enhance the lives of its shareholders.