Epa Extends Comment Period On Proposed Mine Restrictions

JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is extending by two months the public comment period on its proposed restrictions that would block plans for a copper and gold mine in Alaska’s Bristol Bay region.

The agency in a statement said its regional office received communications that were in favor of and against an extension. The office determined that good cause existed to extend until Sept. 6 the comment period, the statement says.

The comment period was previously set to expire Tuesday.

The EPA in May announced the proposed restrictions affecting the Pebble Mine project. It was the latest move in a years-long dispute over efforts by developers to advance the mine in a region known for its salmon runs.

The EPA has said its proposal would bar discharges of dredged or fill material into waters of the U.S. within the mine site footprint proposed by the Pebble Limited Partnership, which is pursuing the project.

The partnership's CEO has called EPA’s proposal an effort to veto the project. Critics of the mine have pushed for protections for the Bristol Bay region.

Pebble has also appealed a 2020 decision from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers denying a key permit. A decision in that matter is pending.