Alaskans Confident in State Protections

Voters issued a clear vote of confidence in the State of Alaska’s water quality standards and regulatory protections for salmon and human health when they defeated Ballot Measure 4 last week, said Pebble Partnership CEO John Shively.

“Ballot Measure 4 and its proponents challenged the state’s environmental standards and overall regulatory framework for hard rock mining, and suggested they were insufficient to protect Alaska’s important water and fisheries resources,” Shively said. “Alaskans disagreed, and reinforced their support for the state and federal permitting process and existing standards for water quality and fish protection as the appropriate measures by which the Pebble Project and other mines in the state should be judged.”

Ballot Measure 4 was defeated by a 57 – 43 majority. If approved by Alaska voters, the initiative could have introduced new, undefined regulations for all hard rock mines in the state.

“Notwithstanding the outcome of this important vote, the Pebble Partnership remains committed to going beyond compliance with existing environmental regulations to ensure that the significant fisheries resources of Bristol Bay are protected,” Shively said.

The Pebble Partnership is currently advancing project design and engineering programs for the Pebble Project, and is expected to finalize a Prefeasibility Study in the second half of 2009 after receiving stakeholder input.

Once the Prefeasibility Study is complete, the Partnership will apply for the requisite state and federal permits for the Pebble Project. The permitting process will be guided by the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), involve at least 11 state and federal regulatory agencies, and provide multiple and ongoing opportunities for public input. This process is expected to take three years to complete.