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Bristol Bay

About EPA's Decision Not to Withdraw Proposed Clean Water Act Restrictions on Mining Pebble Deposit

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In 2014, EPA issued a Clean Water Act Section 404(c) Proposed Determination that would, if finalized, restrict the discharge of dredged or fill material in the Bristol Bay watershed related to mining the Pebble copper and gold deposit. In a May 11, 2017, settlement agreement resolving outstanding lawsuits between EPA and the Pebble Limited Partnership, EPA agreed to initiate a process to propose to withdraw the Proposed Determination by July 11, 2017.

In July 2017, EPA solicited public comment on whether to withdraw the Proposed Determination, and whether the Administrator should review the withdrawal decision if such a decision is made. Comments were due on October 17, 2017 (see Public Comments below).

After hearing directly from stakeholders and the people of Alaska, EPA is suspending its process to withdraw the Proposed Determination, leaving it in place while the Agency receives more information on the potential mine’s impact on the region’s world-class fisheries and natural resources. 

EPA intends to solicit additional public comment on the impact of the Pebble Limited Partnership's December 2017 mining application on the existing Proposed Determination.

Related information

Public Hearings

The EPA held two public hearings on its 2017 proposal to withdraw proposed Clean Water Act restrictions on mining the Pebble Deposit. Public hearings were held in Dillingham, Alaska, on October 11, 2017 and in Iliamna, Alaska, on October 12, 2017. 

Public Comments

The comment period on EPA's 2017 proposal to withdraw proposed Clean Water Act restrictions on mining the Pebble Deposit closed October 17, 2017.

Public comments submitted to the docket can be viewed at the Federal eRulemaking Portal: Visit (docket ID: EPA-R10-OW-2017-0369).

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