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Northern Dynasty Comments On The EPA's Draft Bristol Bay Watershed Assessment Report

"The Pebble deposit is located on State of Alaska lands that are open to mineral exploration and development. As such, the State has expressed strong objection about the entire process the EPA is undertaking in this area. At Statehood, the federal government granted Alaska access to lands in order to develop an economy for the new state. Federal intrusions such as those facilitated by the EPA's watershed assessment initiative clearly strike at the heart of the agreement between the state and the federal government, and could have a chilling effect on future resource development investments in Alaska.

"Further, this entire process is particularly disappointing because it seems to directly conflict with the stated goals of President Obama, who has said that U.S. government agencies need to simplify and streamline permitting and regulatory processes to help the economy and create jobs. This is an example of the Environmental Protection Agency doing exactly the opposite by adding new hurdles to the rigorous and established regulatory process.

"It is worth noting that PLP has spent several years and expended significant resources studying a substantially smaller land area surrounding Pebble, while the EPA's limited time frame allocated to studying natural resources in this vast area comes nowhere near providing the science needed to adequately conduct their assessment. We certainly don't question the appropriate statutory role of the EPA in evaluating projects like the Pebble Project. In fact, we voluntarily provided over 20,000 pages of detailed environmental studies to the EPA to assist their understanding of this complex ecosystem and we are convinced the agency did not utilize the information in a meaningful way due to the artificial short time frame they have used to reach a conclusion. We do take strong exception to this misguided effort that steps outside of the well‐established regulatory process to rush through this watershed assessment to potentially reach pre‐ordained conclusions.

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