The Pebble Partnership today released the first installment in its Pre-Permitting Environmental & Socio-Economic Data Report Series. This installment focuses on meteorological data collected in the project area over the past three years.
Complete copies of the meteorological data reports released as part of the Pebble Partnership’s Pre-Permitting Environmental & Socio-Economic Data Report Series are available on-line at www.pebblepartnership.com.
CEO John Shively said the Partnership has spent some $90 million on environmental and socio-economic studies in and around the Pebble Project site since 2004, amassing one of the most comprehensive pre-development environmental databases in the state’s history. Delivering on its commitment to go beyond mere compliance, the Partnership will publicly release its data in a series of installments over the next 20 months, prior to the initiation of project permitting.
“There’s been a high degree of public interest in the work that our environmental and technical consultants have been performing in the project area over the past several years,” Shively said. “And while we have always been open and willing to share the results of our work with Alaskans, the Pre-Permitting Environmental & SocioEconomic Data Report Series will formalize that process. We believe that an informed public can make a very positive contribution to the development of a responsible mine plan at Pebble.”
The Pebble Partnership has retained some 45 professional consultants, a majority of them Alaskans, specializing in a broad range of environmental and socio-economic disciplines to study existing conditions near the project site and in the region as a whole. The collected information will be utilized to help design an environmentally sound and socially responsible project, to facilitate project permitting, and to establish a baseline for monitoring future changes.
Shively said the Partnership will publicly release its collected data with little or no analysis over a period of months, rather than all at once, because of the tremendous volume of information and strict requirements for quality assurance and control. He added that a comprehensive Environmental Baseline Document (EBD) will subsequently be prepared and appended to project permit applications in the future, as well as made available to the public.
“In most cases, we will be releasing physical data first, followed by chemical, biological and human or social data,” he said. “This is a standard ecological approach for environmental study programs, and reflects the systematic science that goes into studying animal populations and the dynamics of human communities.”
Following the release of meteorological data today, the Pebble Partnership intends to release findings from the following environmental and socio-economic study programs in the months ahead:
- MAY 2008 - Surface Water Hydrology
- JUN 2008 - Surficial Geology
- JUN 2008 - Groundwater Hydrology
- SEP 2008 - Trace Elements (Sediments and Soils)
- NOV 2008 - Groundwater and Surface Water Quality
- FEB 2009 - Trace Elements (Vegetation and Fish/Mammal Tissue)
- APR 2009 - Macroinvertebrates and Periphyton
- JUN 2009 - Marine Habitats
- AUG 2009 - Marine Nearshore Fish and Benthic Invertebrates
- SEP 2009 - Noise
- OCT 2009 - Lake Iliamna Studies
- NOV 2009 - Visual Resources
- DEC 2009 - Terrestrial Habitat and Wildlife
Other study findings to be released in 2009/2010, though not yet scheduled, include: recreation; land and water use; wetlands; fish and aquatics; and socio-economics.
Although the Pebble Partnership has commissioned subsistence/traditional knowledge and cultural resource studies in and around the project site, this information is considered proprietary to local residents and communities, and cannot be released.
“We believe that sharing our environmental and socio-economic data years before the onset of permitting, even before the Pebble Project is defined, will ultimately lead to more informed public input and a better project,” Shively said. “The scope and quality of the environmental and scientific studies we have undertaken will be a valuable and positive legacy for this region and the state as a whole.”
In addition to ongoing data releases via the Pre-Permitting Environmental & Socio-Economic Data Report Series, the Partnership expects to share preliminary project design considerations with Alaskans in 2009.