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Experts testify on EPA's draft Bristol Bay Watershed Assessment report
Aug. 7, 2012 /PRNewswire/ - On behalf of Northern Dynasty Minerals Ltd. ("Northern Dynasty" or the "Company") (TSX: NDM; NYSE MKT: NAK) and its shareholders, prominent
Washington DC-based regulatory lawyer
Thomas Collier and National Academy of Engineering member Dr.
Michael Kavanaugh delivered testimony today in
Anchorage, Alaska to the external peer review panel that is evaluating the US Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) draft Bristol Bay Watershed Assessment (BBWA) report.
Collier, retained as counsel to Northern Dynasty, has extensive experience managing major scientific studies on complex environmental and policy issues for
the United States government under the Clinton Administration. He served as both Chief of Staff and Chief Operating Officer of the Department of Interior. In direct and hard-hitting testimony, Collier outlined the inappropriate timing and rushed nature of the draft BBWA report.
"At Interior, I supervised extensive scientific reviews similar to this watershed assessment," Collier said. "
All of those science-based reviews withstood fierce attacks in the court. But, I must tell you, during my days at Interior, I would not have let this assessment out the door.
Calling the draft BBWA report deeply flawed, Collier said EPA should suspend the watershed assessment process until the Pebble Limited Partnership ("Pebble Partnership" or "PLP") completes a proposed development plan for the Pebble Project and applies for federal and state permits under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA).
"I see no policy reasons or scientific basis for beginning this study without an important prerequisite - a mine plan - and for rushing it to conclusion. I do see, however, a possible political explanation. Could EPA be rushing to complete an assessment that could be used as a basis for a 404c veto of Pebble in the event President Obama is not re-elected and a new Administration takes office?"
Michael Kavanaugh is a registered professional engineer with 38 years of experience in water quality and groundwater restoration, including projects in
Alaska. In 1998, he was elected to the National Academy of Engineering, where he currently serves on the Academy's Report Review Committee, which oversees more than 200 peer review processes for National Academy studies each year.
Having completed an independent review of the draft BBWA report, Kavanaugh found the EPA study fails to meet the federal agency's own guidelines for ecological risk assessments or even generally accepted quality standards for scientific and technical studies. Kavanaugh also said the "hypothetical mine scenario" evaluated by EPA within its watershed study could never be permitted under existing federal and state laws.