VANCOUVER, May 22, 2012 /PRNewswire/ - Northern Dynasty Minerals Ltd. ("Northern Dynasty" or the "Company") (TSX: NDM; NYSE Amex: NAK) comments on the draft Bristol Bay Watershed Assessment report released by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on May 18, 2012, calling the initiative to study potential effects of mineral development in a vast region of southwest Alaska 'rushed and inadequate.'
"As Northern Dynasty and subsequently as part of the Pebble Partnership, we have invested nearly 10 years and hundreds of millions of dollars studying the natural and human environment surrounding the Pebble Project, and methodically advancing a development strategy that will allow us to develop the globally significant resources of copper, gold and molybdenum there while protecting fisheries, water quality and traditional ways of life," said Northern Dynasty President & CEO Ron Thiessen,
"So to suggest that the EPA over a course of a single year can meaningfully study a region of some 20,000 square miles and assess the effects of a project for which a final design is not yet complete, and for which key environmental mitigation strategies are yet being developed, is pure hubris. We have every expectation that the deep flaws in the draft Bristol Bay Watershed Assessment report will be exposed during the scientific peer review and public comment processes to come over the next several months."
Thiessen referred to the public statement on the EPA's draft Bristol Bay Watershed Assessment report released by the Pebble Limited Partnership (the "Pebble Partnership" or "PLP") Chief Executive Officer John Shively last week:Pebble CEO Calls EPA Process Rushed and Inadequate "As long‐time proponents of responsible resource development in Alaska, we have significant concerns regarding the EPA's approach to the Bristol Bay Watershed Assessment. We believe that the EPA has rushed its assessment process, and that this is especially problematic in light of the large size of the study area. We have taken several years and expended considerable resources to study the ecosystem in a small area around the Pebble deposit, while the EPA has, in only one year and with limited resources, completed a draft assessment in relation to an area of approximately 20,000 square miles. We believe that this explains why the EPA's work has not yet approached the level of rigor and completeness required for a scientific assessment. "Furthermore, we are concerned that the EPA may use this rushed process as the basis for an unprecedented regulatory action against the Pebble Project. We believe it would be unprecedented and entirely inappropriate for the EPA to take steps to stop our project before it has been fully designed, before we have presented an environmental mitigation strategy designed to protect the fish and water resources of the area, before we have completed an economic benefits study and before we have submitted a permit application and started the rigorous permitting process. Until we complete our work and submit an application under NEPA, the EPA's work as it relates to our project is based entirely on speculation.