Legislature(2017 - 2018)BARNES 124

02/19/2018 01:00 PM House RESOURCES

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01:04:51 PM Start
01:05:54 PM Presentation: Proposed Pebble Mine
03:07:19 PM Adjourn
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
+ Presentation: Proposed Pebble Mine by: TELECONFERENCED
- Lindsay Layand, Deputy Director, United Tribes
of Bristol Bay
- David Chambers, President, Center for Science
in Public Participation
- Rick Halford, Guide & Commercial Pilot
- Daniel Schindler, Professor, School of Aquatic
& Fishery Sciences, University of WA
- Tom Tilden, Chief, Curyung Tribal Council
- Nanci Morris-Lyon, Owner & Operator, Bear
Trail Lodge
- Norman Van Vactor, CEO & President, Bristol
Bay Economic Development Corp.
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled TELECONFERENCED
                    ALASKA STATE LEGISLATURE                                                                                  
               HOUSE RESOURCES STANDING COMMITTEE                                                                             
                       February 19, 2018                                                                                        
                           1:04 p.m.                                                                                            
MEMBERS PRESENT                                                                                                               
Representative Andy Josephson, Co-Chair                                                                                         
Representative Geran Tarr, Co-Chair                                                                                             
Representative John Lincoln, Vice Chair                                                                                         
Representative Harriet Drummond                                                                                                 
Representative Justin Parish                                                                                                    
Representative Chris Birch                                                                                                      
Representative DeLena Johnson                                                                                                   
Representative George Rauscher                                                                                                  
Representative David Talerico                                                                                                   
MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                                                                
Representative Mike Chenault (alternate)                                                                                        
Representative Chris Tuck (alternate)                                                                                           
COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                                                                            
PRESENTATION:  PROPOSED PEBBLE MINE                                                                                             
     - HEARD                                                                                                                    
PREVIOUS COMMITTEE ACTION                                                                                                     
No previous action to record                                                                                                    
WITNESS REGISTER                                                                                                              
LINDSAY LAYLAND, Deputy Director                                                                                                
United Tribes of Bristol Bay                                                                                                    
Dillingham, Alaska                                                                                                              
POSITION STATEMENT:  Spoke in opposition to the development of                                                                
the Pebble Mine.                                                                                                                
NORMAN VAN VACTOR, President/CEO                                                                                                
Bristol Bay Economic Development Corporation                                                                                    
Dillingham, Alaska                                                                                                              
POSITION STATEMENT:  Spoke in opposition to the development of                                                                
the Pebble Mine.                                                                                                                
NANCI MORRIS LYON, Owner/Operator                                                                                               
Bear Trail Lodge                                                                                                                
King Salmon, Alaska                                                                                                             
POSITION STATEMENT:   Spoke in  opposition to the  development of                                                             
the Pebble Mine.                                                                                                                
DAVID CHAMBERS PhD, President/Founder                                                                                           
Center for Science in Public Participation                                                                                      
Bozeman, Montana                                                                                                                
POSITION STATEMENT:   Spoke in  opposition to the  development of                                                             
the Pebble Mine.                                                                                                                
DANIEL SCHINDLER PhD, Professor                                                                                                 
School of Aquatic and Fishery Sciences                                                                                          
University of Washington                                                                                                        
Seattle, Washington                                                                                                             
POSITION STATEMENT:   Spoke in  opposition to the  development of                                                             
the Pebble Mine.                                                                                                                
RICK HALFORD, Consultant                                                                                                        
United Tribes of Bristol Bay; Registered Guide                                                                                  
Eagle River, Alaska                                                                                                             
POSITION STATEMENT:   Spoke in  opposition to the  development of                                                             
the Pebble Mine.                                                                                                                
TOM TILDEN, First Chief                                                                                                         
Curyung Tribal Council; Board Member                                                                                            
Choggiung Ltd.                                                                                                                  
Dillingham, Alaska                                                                                                              
POSITION STATEMENT:   Spoke in  opposition to the  development of                                                             
the Pebble Mine.                                                                                                                
ACTION NARRATIVE                                                                                                              
1:04:51 PM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR  ANDY  JOSEPHSON  called the  House  Resources  Standing                                                             
Committee  meeting  to  order  at   1:04  p.m.    Representatives                                                               
Josephson, Birch,  Parish, Talerico, Drummond, Tarr,  and Lincoln                                                               
were present at  the call to order.   Representatives Johnson and                                                               
Rauscher arrived as the meeting was in progress.                                                                                
^PRESENTATION:  PROPOSED PEBBLE MINE                                                                                            
              PRESENTATION:  PROPOSED PEBBLE MINE                                                                           
1:05:54 PM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR  JOSEPHSON announced  that  the only  order of  business                                                               
would be presentations on the proposed Pebble Mine.                                                                             
1:06:24 PM                                                                                                                    
LINDSAY LAYLAND,  Deputy Director,  United Tribes of  Bristol Bay                                                               
(UTBB),  informed  the  committee  UTTB is  a  Tribal  government                                                               
consortium  based in  Dillingham  representing 15  Tribes in  the                                                               
Bristol  Bay  region,  including  80 percent  of  the  population                                                               
living year  around in  Bristol Bay.   She  stated the  people of                                                               
Bristol Bay  continue to oppose  the Pebble project as  they have                                                               
for many  years; in fact,  she has "grown  up with the  threat of                                                               
Pebble  Mine."     Ms.  Layland  stressed   opposition  from  the                                                               
residents of  Bristol Bay is  not rooted in  general disagreement                                                               
with mining,  resource extraction,  or economic  development, but                                                               
is based on  its location because the Pebble  deposit rests under                                                               
the wetlands, streams, and surface  and ground waters responsible                                                               
for Bristol  Bay salmon.   Much earlier,  this issue  was brought                                                               
forth  by  Tribal  elders  and subsistence  users  who  know  the                                                               
waterways and recognized  the waters must be  protected.  Bristol                                                               
Bay  is  defined by  its  fish  and  pristine fish  habitat  that                                                               
provides  economic  opportunity,  however,   the  fish  are  also                                                               
critical to a way of life;  according to the Alaska Department of                                                               
Fish &  Game (ADFG), families  in Bristol Bay harvest  an average                                                               
of 150-500 pounds  of salmon each year  for subsistence purposes.                                                               
Ms.  Layland  recalled  previous   information  provided  to  the                                                               
committee  [on  2/16/18] from  a  representative  of Pebble  that                                                               
indicated the North and South  Koktuli Rivers are responsible for                                                               
0.5 of 1 percent of Bristol  Bay salmon, and she pointed out this                                                               
percentage  referred  only  to  sockeye  salmon;  however,  these                                                               
rivers  provide   the  spawning  and  rearing   habitat  for  two                                                               
important subsistence resources in Bristol  Bay:  king and silver                                                               
salmon.  She said it is  undeniable that the project would impact                                                               
waters and  fish because  the construction  and operation  of the                                                               
mine would  require dewatering streams, filling  in wetlands, and                                                               
changing the waterway,  which is the basis for  opposition to the                                                               
mine  by the  people  of  Bristol Bay.    Ms.  Layland noted  her                                                               
resolute opposition to  the Pebble project is  based upon science                                                               
and history,  and she is  passionate about protecting her  way of                                                               
life, her  commercial fishing business,  her livelihood,  and her                                                               
1:11:19 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  PARISH  asked  for  a sense  of  Tribal  members'                                                               
MS. LAYLAND,  speaking from  her experience  with members  of the                                                               
UTBB board,  said member Tribes  are committed to  protecting and                                                               
preserving  their   way  of  life,   thus  support   from  Tribal                                                               
communities  is strong.   In  further response  to Representative                                                               
Parish's question  as to whether  there is controversy  about the                                                               
project,  she acknowledged  in any  community there  are opposing                                                               
sides, although her personal and  professional experience is that                                                               
opposition is comprehensive.                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  BIRCH   asked  whether  many   UTBB  constituents                                                               
commute to work on the North  Slope or hold jobs outside of their                                                               
MS. LAYLAND said she could not answer.                                                                                          
1:14:16 PM                                                                                                                    
NORMAN   VAN   VACTOR,   President/CEO,  Bristol   Bay   Economic                                                               
Development Corporation  (BBEDC), said his corporation  is one of                                                               
six  Community  Development  Quota (CDQ),  National  Oceanic  and                                                               
Atmospheric Administration,  U.S. Department of  Commerce, groups                                                               
in  Alaska,  and  represents 17  coastal  communities  from  Port                                                               
Heiden to Togiak.  [BBEDC's]  mission is to support, enhance, and                                                               
promote  sustainable  and renewable  economy;  in  the last  five                                                               
years BBEDC has spent an average  of over $22 million per year of                                                               
net income into  the communities and the watershed.   He said the                                                               
following testimony  from leaders  of the community,  and others,                                                               
will   provide  science   based   on  fact   and   not  on   "the                                                               
hypothetical."    Mr.  Van  Vactor  said  he  has  witnessed  the                                                               
economic engine  generated by the  annual salmon runs  in Bristol                                                               
Bay;  Bristol Bay  boasts the  most valuable  and largest  salmon                                                               
fishery remaining  in the world,  supplying over one-half  of the                                                               
world's  wild  sockeye.    He explained  the  importance  of  the                                                               
Bristol  Bay  economic engine  and  the  role of  government  and                                                               
regulatory agencies  to assist  residents of  the region  and the                                                               
state, and to protect important  cultural and economic resources.                                                               
He recalled at the time of  the new administration [in Alaska], a                                                               
fisheries' group  informed the governor of  the utmost importance                                                               
of  fish to  the state,  a statement  repeated recently  by ADFG;                                                               
however, there  has been no  action.   He cautioned that  with no                                                               
action there is reaction, as evidenced  by sponsors of HB 199 and                                                               
the "salmon initiative."  Mr.  Van Vactor suggested a Bristol Bay                                                               
management plan  would review  Pebble's water  rights application                                                               
and  other questions  that need  to  be answered.   Residents  of                                                               
Bristol Bay have  in common their lives and  their economic focus                                                               
on salmon, which extends to other  regions of Alaska, the rest of                                                               
the U.S., and the world.   The fishery supports over 14,000 jobs,                                                               
raises over  $1.6 billion, supports over  2,300 small businesses,                                                               
and last  summer about  60 million fish  returned.   Further, the                                                               
gross revenue  of $1.6 billion is  facilitated by ADFG at  a cost                                                               
to the  state of about $2  million.  Bristol Bay  is sustained by                                                               
commercial,  sport,  and  subsistence fisheries  far  beyond  the                                                               
sockeye fishery credited by Pebble's  statistics.  Mr. Van Vactor                                                               
said  Pebble is  advancing its  project based  on untruths;  even                                                               
though the region needs jobs, it  is a deception that the project                                                               
can build a  mine that will not harm salmon.   For example, Mount                                                               
Polley [in British  Columbia, Canada] was supposed to  be a small                                                               
mine  that would  cause no  harm.   Even with  the Pebble  Mine's                                                               
smaller footprint,  it is  clear the  mine cannot  coexist safely                                                               
with  salmon when  toxic tailings  are involved.   He  said BBEDC                                                               
supports  efforts   to  protect   salmon  without   turning  away                                                               
responsible  mining interests  that may  provide protections  for                                                               
land  and water.    He  provided an  offending  statement from  a                                                               
representative of  Northern Dynasty Minerals Ltd.,  comparing the                                                               
mine site  to Kansas  [document not provided].   He  stressed the                                                               
legitimacy  of  supporting the  people  and  the economy  of  the                                                               
region, and  reported the U.  S. Environmental  Protection Agency                                                               
(EPA) acknowledged  the value  of the  resources of  Bristol Bay;                                                               
further, as  a businessman, he  said he would  welcome regulators                                                               
informing  him of  the  core parameters  of  the requirements  to                                                               
obtain a permit.  Mr. Van  Vactor concluded the waters of Bristol                                                               
Bay support  a fishery that is  the foundation of the  region and                                                               
is a  national treasure,  and residents  are likeminded  in their                                                               
efforts to protect the resource.                                                                                                
1:21:30 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE BIRCH  recalled the  committee has  heard proposed                                                               
legislation to raise the minimum tax  on oil from the North Slope                                                               
from 4  percent to 7  percent.  He  asked what proportion  of the                                                               
value of the Bristol Bay fishery is paid out in taxes.                                                                          
MR.  VAN  VACTOR  estimated  2.25  percent,  which  can  vary  by                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE  BIRCH questioned  whether a  more equitable  rate                                                               
would be an increase to 4 percent.                                                                                              
MR. VAN  VACTOR said, "...  I think  there's always room,  but at                                                               
the  end  of  the  day,  any  taxes  ...  imposed  would  in  all                                                               
likelihood,  quite frankly,  unfortunately, get  passed along  to                                                               
the  lowest common  denominator  ... our  fisher  people and  the                                                               
residents of the region ...."                                                                                                   
CO-CHAIR  JOSEPHSON  noted  in 2016,  the  governor  proposed  an                                                               
increase  to  the fisheries  landing  tax  and to  every  revenue                                                               
[source]  in  the  state;  however,   every  tax  [increase]  was                                                               
rejected by the legislature.                                                                                                    
MR. VAN  VACTOR added  [taxes on the  fishing industry]  have two                                                               
tiers,  a tax  based upon  shore-based processors  and a  tax for                                                               
floating  processers, because  general funds  benefit communities                                                               
that host shore-based processing plants.                                                                                        
REPRESENTATIVE   BIRCH   observed  other   economic   development                                                               
corporations  across the  state support  a variety  of industries                                                               
and asked  whether any industry  besides fishing is  addressed by                                                               
BBEDC; for  example, there  are merits  to diversity  in economic                                                               
development  from high-paying  jobs in  other industries  such as                                                               
1:24:32 PM                                                                                                                    
MR. VAN VACTOR  acknowledged BBEDC has an  emphasis on fisheries;                                                               
he explained CDQ corporations were created under the [Magnuson-                                                                 
Stevens  Fishery  Conservation  and  Management  Act]  and  BBEDC                                                               
benefits from revenue  streams in the Bering Sea,  and is charged                                                               
with investing in  boats, quota, and allocation.   Further, BBEDC                                                               
is a nonprofit and spends its  money back in its communities.  He                                                               
pointed  out every  CDQ group  differs,  and the  BBEDC board  of                                                               
directors is supportive of sustainable  and renewable economy and                                                               
seeks to develop the right jobs for the right place.                                                                            
1:25:52 PM                                                                                                                    
NANCI MORRIS LYON, Owner/Operator, Bear  Trail Lodge, said her 5-                                                               
star lodge is located in Bristol  Bay and she began her career as                                                               
an independent  fishing guide  in the Bristol  Bay area  in 1985.                                                               
There are dozens  of lodges in Bristol Bay, which  has been a key                                                               
sport  fishing   destination  for   many  years,   and  worldwide                                                               
recognition  of this  area has  established sport  fishing as  an                                                               
important part  of the  local and statewide  economy.   Her lodge                                                               
utilizes  local businesses  for fuel,  food, transportation,  and                                                               
other  support   services,  such  as  employees;   in  fact,  the                                                               
recreation  fishing,  hunting,  and  tourism  industries  support                                                               
1,000  jobs  and  contribute  over  $60 million  a  year  to  the                                                               
economies  of Bristol  Bay and  Alaska.    Alaskans  and visitors                                                               
treasure Bristol  Bay as evidenced  by opposition to  Pebble Mine                                                               
and similar  mines.   Because of  tourism, thousands  of visitors                                                               
bring money into  Alaska to witness Bristol  Bay's unique beauty.                                                               
She  pointed out  the  effects  of mining  on  salmon would  also                                                               
affect  other  species such  as  grayling,  Dolly Varden,  Arctic                                                               
char,  and  rainbow  trout.     Pebble's  current  plan  includes                                                               
transportation  corridors  across  the   Talarik  Creek  and  the                                                               
Gibraltar Creek; road corridors on  or near these fisheries would                                                               
mean a large  percentage of fisherman would not  return.  Thirty-                                                               
five roundtrip  truckloads crossing  creeks and rivers  each day,                                                               
and  other activities  like blasting,  would eliminate  visitors'                                                               
interest:   Pebble's  current plan  would  change the  landscape.                                                               
Ms. Morris  Lyon is also the  lead instructor at the  Bristol Bay                                                               
Fly Fishing and  Guide Academy, which for 10 years  has sought to                                                               
involve local  residents in guiding  and sports  fishing, enhance                                                               
guests' experience  in the  culture of  Bristol Bay,  and provide                                                               
jobs, and she  gave an example.  She pointed  out Bristol Bay can                                                               
-  and is  - creating  a  positive future  for residents  without                                                               
jeopardizing  existing  industries,  and strongly  suggested  the                                                               
mining industry  should wait until  new technology  provides safe                                                               
extraction  methods,  without  dangerous  chemicals  and  damaged                                                               
1:32:08 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  PARISH  asked  what  proportion of  jobs  in  the                                                               
affected area  are affiliated with  fishing and tourism,  and the                                                               
growth status of the fishing and tourism industries.                                                                            
MS. MORRIS  LYON said, "...  the trend is definitely  headed more                                                               
towards  tourism, that's  a  national fact,  and  ... tourism  is                                                               
headed to  areas that  are harder to  reach because  people crave                                                               
that ...."                                                                                                                      
REPRESENTATIVE BIRCH  related the statewide fishing  industry has                                                               
a dismal  record for employing  Alaskans, and many  large fishing                                                               
ships are out  of Seattle.  He inquired as  to the average annual                                                               
salary for a  guide, and the percentage of guides  who are Alaska                                                               
MS.  MORRIS  LYON explained  salaries  for  guides vary  and  may                                                               
include room  and board, transportation, and  gear; she estimated                                                               
a  salary  range  between  $30,000-$50,000 per  year.    Over  85                                                               
percent  of  her  employees  are Alaska  residents,  which  is  a                                                               
substantial increase from 30 years ago.                                                                                         
CO-CHAIR TARR asked the names of the affected creeks.                                                                           
MS. MORRIS LYON said Talarik  and Gibraltar creeks are recognized                                                               
throughout the industry.                                                                                                        
1:35:35 PM                                                                                                                    
DAVID  CHAMBERS PhD,  President/Founder,  Center  for Science  in                                                               
Public  Participation  (CSP2), informed  the  committee  he is  a                                                               
geophysicist with  CSP2, which  is a  small nonprofit  located in                                                               
Montana  - with  one employee  in Alaska  - and  he was  asked to                                                               
review   information   previously   presented   by   the   Pebble                                                               
Partnership  related  to the  size  of  the  mine.   He  directed                                                               
attention  to a  PowerPoint  presentation  entitled, "The  Pebble                                                               
Project  A Pathway  to Permitting,"  dated September  2017, which                                                               
indicated  the total  resource for  the project  is 10.8  billion                                                               
tons; however, recent testimony by  Pebble indicated a project of                                                               
1.1 billion tons,  which is 10 percent less  than the information                                                               
provided to  the project's investors.   Dr. Chambers  pointed out                                                               
regulatory agencies  in the U.S.  and Canada ensure  companies do                                                               
not  offer fraudulent  information  to  investors, therefore,  he                                                               
reasoned that the  higher number is what Pebble  has available to                                                               
CO-CHAIR JOSEPHSON asked whether  Pebble continued to present the                                                               
aforementioned information  to investors after it  indicated last                                                               
fall the mine would be smaller.                                                                                                 
DR.  CHAMBERS responded,  "As far  as I  know, this  is the  most                                                               
recent  information   and  ...  they   would  have  to   issue  a                                                               
retraction."    He  then  directed   attention  to  a  PowerPoint                                                               
presentation  entitled,  "The  Pebble  Project,"  dated  December                                                               
2012, which indicated the total  resource for the project at that                                                               
time  was 10.7  billion  tons;  he said  this  was a  preliminary                                                               
assessment - also  known as a prefeasibility study  - which looks                                                               
at the  economics of a mining  operation to an accuracy  of 20-30                                                               
percent.   During  the  study, the  project  revealed three  mine                                                               
plans (cases):   investment case, 25-year mine  life, 2.0 billion                                                               
tons of ore; reference case,  45-year mine life, 3.8 billion tons                                                               
of ore;  resource case,  78-year mine life,  6.5 billion  tons of                                                               
ore.  He  concluded the resource case was only  one-half the size                                                               
of the actual identified resource  (slide 61).  An untitled slide                                                               
illustrated  the relative  sizes of  the open  pits in  the three                                                               
case models.  Slide 57 illustrated  a simulation of open pits and                                                               
the underground deposit  that would be accessed by  a block cave.                                                               
He explained  an underground block  cave is a method  that almost                                                               
always  causes  surface  subsidence  because of  the  removal  of                                                               
material  underneath  the surface.    The  area affected  by  the                                                               
illustrated  block mine  is located  north and  east of  the open                                                               
pits, which is  the area of the upper watershed  of Upper Talarik                                                               
Creek; during  mine operations, the  water must be pumped  out of                                                               
the pits which lowers the  ground [water] table, likely affecting                                                               
the water  levels in the  creeks, although water losses  have not                                                               
been discussed at  this point.  Slide 7 illustrated  the 2017 20-                                                               
year, 1.2  billion tons  of ore, small  mine scenario,  which was                                                               
similar  to the  2012  25-year,  2.0 billion  tons  of ore  mine,                                                               
except for how  the waste rock is handled.   He compared Pebble's                                                               
2017 proposal,  EPA's 0.25  billion ton  scenario, and  EPA's 6.5                                                               
billion tons  scenario - as  illustrated on  slide 8 -  and noted                                                               
EPA concluded  its small mine  scenario was too large  and caused                                                               
too much environmental  damage.  Furthermore, the  EPA large mine                                                               
scenario  reflected  only one-half  of  the  resource.   Slide  9                                                               
illustrated  the  layout  for  the mine  pit  and  tailings  dam;                                                               
however, due  to the volume  of the  2017 proposal, he  opined an                                                               
additional tailings  dam would be  needed over the North  Fork of                                                               
the Koktuli River.                                                                                                              
1:46:52 PM                                                                                                                    
DR.  CHAMBERS  noted in  2012,  the  Pebble Partnership  did  not                                                               
provide layouts  for the 6.5  billion tons and 10.7  billion tons                                                               
mines; however, mining  all of the resource  would require bigger                                                               
open pits,  underground block caving, and  handling an additional                                                               
9 billion tons of tailings and  waste rock.  Further, because the                                                               
proposal expects 2.6 tons of waste  would be mined to extract 1.0                                                               
ton of ore  - a stripping ratio  of 2.6:1 - waste rock  will be a                                                               
problem due to its volume  and geochemistry, making a larger mine                                                               
footprint likely.   Slide 10 illustrated  other mineral prospects                                                               
that  have  been  identified  in  the region,  and  he  said  the                                                               
potential for  additional mining is very  high because additional                                                               
mining becomes economic once the  original mine infrastructure is                                                               
in  place.   Dr.  Chambers  concluded the  size  of  the mine  is                                                               
important to habitat  because of the amount of  waste, the amount                                                               
of contamination  that takes  years to  manifest, and  the mine's                                                               
location in a sensitive area.                                                                                                   
CO-CHAIR JOSEPHSON  asked who  holds the Humble,  D Block,  and H                                                               
Block claims.                                                                                                                   
DR. CHAMBERS was unsure.                                                                                                        
1:49:40 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  RAUSCHER questioned  Dr.  Chambers' reference  to                                                               
25-30 percent accuracy.                                                                                                         
DR.  CHAMBERS  explained there  are  three  types of  feasibility                                                               
studies:     a  rough   estimate  at   50  percent   accuracy;  a                                                               
prefeasibility   study  at   30-40  percent   accuracy;  a   full                                                               
feasibility study at  10-15 percent accuracy.   Generally, a full                                                               
feasibility  study is  not  done  until a  mine  plan is  "solid"                                                               
because of the expense.                                                                                                         
REPRESENTATIVE  RAUSCHER asked  for  the  percentage of  accuracy                                                               
reflected [in the documents Dr. Chambers presented].                                                                            
DR. CHAMBERS  said the prefeasibility  study in 2012 would  be at                                                               
30-40 percent accuracy.                                                                                                         
1:51:12 PM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR JOSEPHSON surmised the  presentation indicated a lack of                                                               
confidence in  Pebble's published intent  to limit the mine  to a                                                               
20-year phase, with a reference to expansion.                                                                                   
1:51:45 PM                                                                                                                    
DR.  CHAMBERS advised  companies will  always propose  an initial                                                               
phase of  a mine based  on solid economics; however,  the initial                                                               
proposal might not  address the full development  of the resource                                                               
because the  full extent of the  resource is unknown.   After the                                                               
mine infrastructure is established,  "mines expanding after their                                                               
initial  footprint is  the rule  rather than  the exception,"  he                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE  BIRCH, speaking  as an  Alaskan mining  engineer,                                                               
expressed his  excitement at the opportunity  for the development                                                               
of  state-owned  land that  has  previously  been identified  for                                                               
mineral  potential.   He  estimated the  potential  value of  the                                                               
silver, gold, molybdenum, and copper  in the deposit at in excess                                                               
of $300 billion, which is  a significant opportunity for work for                                                               
Alaskans and resources for the state.   In the Western U.S., coal                                                               
mining  and farming  are co-located,  and he  inquired as  to the                                                               
same in Alaska so that  the fisheries and mineral development can                                                               
be pursued at the same time.                                                                                                    
DR.  CHAMBERS stated  Pebble Mine  - compared  to other  mines in                                                               
Alaska - has the largest risk  to habitat because of its location                                                               
and its  size; in  addition, mines  developing a  copper porphyry                                                               
ore  body  have  a  very poor  environmental  performance  record                                                               
related to  water quality,  ranging from  sulfate [contamination]                                                               
to  acid  mine drainage.    He  recalled  the Mount  Polley  mine                                                               
failure evaluation  panel concluded there  needs to be  a balance                                                               
between  economic,  environmental,  and  social  risks;  however,                                                               
currently there is more emphasis placed on economics.                                                                           
REPRESENTATIVE BIRCH  named several  examples from  Alaska's rich                                                               
mining  history  and expressed  confidence  all  can work  for  a                                                               
solution  that allows  for mining  and  opportunities for  future                                                               
generations;  a   world  class  resource  demands   a  successful                                                               
1:57:03 PM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR   JOSEPHSON  recalled   in   2014   he  researched   the                                                               
aforementioned  land  use  plan   that  designated  the  area  in                                                               
question for  minerals.  He  related the Tribes located  near the                                                               
mouth  of  the bay  appealed  the  [Bristol  Bay Area  Plan]  and                                                               
subsequently the  Division of Mining, Land  and Water, Department                                                               
of  Natural  Resources (DNR),  rewrote  the  management plan  and                                                               
found the  area to be  mixed use; he asked,  "... some of  it was                                                               
for mineral exploration,  but literally next door to  it, in sort                                                               
of  a checkerboard  fashion almost,  there were  areas designated                                                               
for habitat.  Am I right about that?"                                                                                           
DR. CHAMBERS  indicated yes, but  deferred to legal counsel.   He                                                               
added in  the 1970s the legislature  said there was to  be no oil                                                               
drilling in "that whole area."                                                                                                  
CO-CHAIR JOSEPHSON  referred to Dr. Chambers'  previous testimony                                                               
[before  the  House  Resources   Standing  Committee  meeting  on                                                               
2/27/17]  related to  certain closed  [borehole] sites  and their                                                               
condition  after abandonment.    Mark  Hamilton, [Executive  Vice                                                               
President for  External Affairs,  Pebble Partnership,  before the                                                               
House Resources  Standing Committee  meeting on  2/16/18], stated                                                               
the sites were properly closed.                                                                                                 
DR. CHAMBERS explained  he and others looked  at exploration well                                                               
reclamation  work in  August  2016  - one  week  after the  state                                                               
conducted  its  inspection tour  -  and  well closures  were  not                                                               
complete, according  to requirements.   This  year the  state re-                                                               
inspected the sites and reported  compliance; however, he said he                                                               
wished  to  revisit  the  sites because,  prior  to  2008,  drill                                                               
cuttings were  routinely left  on the surface  and they  have now                                                               
become  acidic.    He  opined  the  state  should  require  drill                                                               
cuttings are  cleaned up  and the  practice de-sanctioned  by the                                                               
state.   He confirmed  the state re-inspected  over 300  sites by                                                               
aerial survey.                                                                                                                  
CO-CHAIR   JOSEPHSON   questioned   whether  DNR   is   providing                                                               
sufficient scrutiny.                                                                                                            
DR.  CHALMERS said,  "I'm totally  neutral at  this point,  but I                                                               
want to go out and see.                                                                                                         
REPRESENTATIVE   RAUSCHER   surmised    Dr.   Chambers   observed                                                               
reclamation in process.                                                                                                         
DR.  CHAMBERS  said no,  most  of  the  holes he  inspected  were                                                               
supposed to have been reclaimed.                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE RAUSCHER restated his question.                                                                                  
DR. CHAMBERS  advised his  inspection revealed  several boreholes                                                               
that were left  open temporarily because they were  still in use;                                                               
however,  others  he inspected  were  supposed  to be  completely                                                               
reclaimed, including some  of which were leaking,  and some sites                                                               
with  exposed  drill pipes,  that  posed  a  safety hazard.    In                                                               
further  response   to  Representative  Rauscher,   Dr.  Chambers                                                               
confirmed the state had "signed off" on said sites.                                                                             
2:02:51 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  PARISH returned  attention to  the aforementioned                                                               
presentation by Mark Hamilton and  read from an untitled slide as                                                               
follows [in part]:                                                                                                              
     The  purpose  of  the  presentation  is  to  facilitate                                                                    
     discussions  with stakeholders  and does  not represent                                                                    
     an  economic analysis,  technical mine  study, detailed                                                                    
     engineering proposal  or similar study.   It should not                                                                    
     be used as the basis for any investment decision.                                                                          
REPRESENTATIVE PARISH asked whether  the presentation Pebble gave                                                               
to shareholders had a similar disclaimer.                                                                                       
DR. CHAMBERS said, "Not to my knowledge."                                                                                       
REPRESENTATIVE PARISH compared slides  from the two presentations                                                               
and pointed out  "mine pit," "waste rock,"  and "tailings storage                                                               
facility"  had  been  redacted   from  the  presentation  to  the                                                               
legislature.   He  asked  Dr.  Chambers for  his  opinion on  the                                                               
reason for the changes to the presentation.                                                                                     
DR. CHAMBERS remarked:                                                                                                          
     Just  follow  the  guide   of  the  Pebble  Partnership                                                                    
     itself.   It  said that  it's presenting  a small  mine                                                                    
     that's environmentally friendly. ...  It's not going to                                                                    
            be a small mine and it's not going to be                                                                            
     environmentally friendly.                                                                                                  
CO-CHAIR JOSEPHSON  pointed out the Pebble  presentation included                                                               
a  slide  entitled, "Figure  2-1  Mine  Site Hydrography,"  which                                                               
illustrated a tailings cell, a management pond, and open pits.                                                                  
REPRESENTATIVE  TALERICO asked,  "...  if [the  mine plan]  grows                                                               
smaller and smaller,  do, do we assume risk  assessment goes down                                                               
because ... of volumes."                                                                                                        
DR. CHAMBERS opined  the risk goes down in relation  to the size;                                                               
however, EPA  judged the risk from  a mine smaller than  the mine                                                               
proposed  was  unacceptable  because  of its  impact  on  aquatic                                                               
habitat:  streams and connected wetlands.                                                                                       
CO-CHAIR  JOSEPHSON  asked  how  the  current  EPA  statement  of                                                               
continuing concern differs  from that issued by  the previous EPA                                                               
2:07:34 PM                                                                                                                    
DR. CHAMBERS  said the  current statement allows  the mine  to go                                                               
through  the environmental  impact  assessment  process now,  but                                                               
leaves EPA's options open.                                                                                                      
2:08:10 PM                                                                                                                    
DANIEL SCHINDLER,  PhD, Professor, School of  Aquatic and Fishery                                                               
Sciences, University  of Washington  (UW), provided  a PowerPoint                                                               
presentation entitled, "Bristol Bay  fisheries and water quality:                                                               
what are  the risks of  mining development?"  Dr.  Schindler said                                                               
Alaska's fisheries and  fisheries management are the  envy of the                                                               
world.  Slide 2 was a  graph of sockeye salmon returns to Bristol                                                               
Bay ranging from 30-50 million fish  per year.  Last year, in the                                                               
Nushagak  Commercial  Salmon  Fishery  Management  District,  one                                                               
million  sockeye salmon  were caught  in one  day from  a fishery                                                               
with  no enhancement  from hatcheries;  this is  a return  from a                                                               
sustainable fishery based on  Alaska's culture, its constitution,                                                               
ADF&G, and the intact habitat of  the fishery.  He advised in the                                                               
Lower 48  many fisheries, particularly  salmon fisheries,  are in                                                               
disarray  due to  a disregard  of  the importance  of habitat  to                                                               
fisheries.  Bristol  Bay salmon and habitat have  been studied by                                                               
the Fisheries Research  Institute, UW, since 1946  at the request                                                               
of Bristol Bay  fisherman.  Salmon spend about  one-half of their                                                               
lives in  the North Pacific  Ocean and  guided by their  sense of                                                               
smell -  following the  chemistry in  the water  - return  to the                                                               
rivers  and streams  of  their  birth to  spawn  (slide  3).   He                                                               
stressed the presentation is not  about mining or about mining in                                                               
Alaska,  but  about mining  in  Bristol  Bay  and its  impact  on                                                               
Bristol  Bay's  unique  geology and  biology;  for  example,  the                                                               
watershed is complex because retreating  glaciers left a layer of                                                               
gravel  and the  region produces  lots of  water, which  together                                                               
create productive salmon habitat.   Water flows freely across the                                                               
porous  landscape, and  he cautioned  in these  conditions it  is                                                               
difficult to  contain mining problems,  and with  climate change,                                                               
the region will become wetter (slide 4).                                                                                        
2:13:16 PM                                                                                                                    
DR.  SCHINDLER continued  to slide  5, noting  scientists do  not                                                               
know what  part of  the Nushagak  watershed produced  the Chinook                                                               
salmon caught in  the Nushagak River.  Slides 6  and 7 pictured a                                                               
salmon otolith - also  known as the ear stone -  that is used for                                                               
navigation and  which accumulates  rings as the  fish ages.   The                                                               
otolith incorporates the chemistry of  the water as the fish pass                                                               
through; thus,  scientists can  match the  chemistry found  in an                                                               
otolith with that of the chemistry  in a river or stream to trace                                                               
the source  of the fish.   Also shown  were maps of  the Nushagak                                                               
River and  its Mulchatna and Koktuli  tributaries, indicating the                                                               
location of returning fish in 2011  (slide 6) and 2014 (slide 7).                                                               
He compared  the tributaries  that had  low numbers  of returning                                                               
fish  in   2011,  with  high   numbers  returning  to   the  same                                                               
tributaries  in  2014, and  concluded  fish  habitat is  variable                                                               
across space  and through  time.   Therefore, the  primary reason                                                               
Bristol  Bay  fisheries  are  sustainable is  that  fish  have  a                                                               
diverse habitat,  and the  question of  risk is  not only  to the                                                               
individual tributary directly impacted, but  also the risk to the                                                               
habitat on a broader scale.                                                                                                     
CO-CHAIR  JOSEPHSON questioned  whether scientists  believe "this                                                               
sort of  switching back between  the Nushagak and  Mulchatna" has                                                               
occurred over eons.                                                                                                             
DR. SCHINDLER said  similar studies on sockeye  salmon report the                                                               
same pattern for hundreds of years.                                                                                             
REPRESENTATIVE  BIRCH  recalled  the  [Novarupta-Katmai  volcanic                                                               
eruption of 1912] dumped seven cubic  miles of ash.  He asked for                                                               
its impact  to fisheries,  and how resilient  fisheries are  to a                                                               
catastrophic event.                                                                                                             
2:19:18 PM                                                                                                                    
DR. SCHINDLER  related the Katmai  eruption deposited  ash across                                                               
the region, and  the region's lakes have a one  and one-half foot                                                               
layer of  ash buried at the  bottom.  Depending on  the location,                                                               
volcanic ash  can damage or  boost fish, because volcanic  ash is                                                               
rich in  phosphorus which can fertilize  lakes, possibly boosting                                                               
salmon production.   However,  in the  direct outfall  of Katmai,                                                               
salmon streams were probably devastated.   He acknowledged salmon                                                               
are resilient because of the  complexity of Alaska's watershed as                                                               
demonstrated by  the presentation;  in fact,  certain parts  of a                                                               
watershed  can be  wiped out  and recolonized.   He  restated the                                                               
complexity  of  the  system  ensures  reliability.    To  provide                                                               
another example  of the complexity  of fish habitat,  slides 8-10                                                               
pictured the characteristics of Bear  Creek, which is not located                                                               
near  the mine.   The  stream supports  juvenile coho  salmon and                                                               
spawning sockeye;  because of ground water  influence, the stream                                                               
is warm  at its outflow from  a beaver meadow, and  cools by 8-10                                                               
degrees  near the  bottom of  the stream  where it  flows into  a                                                               
lake.   Dr.  Schindler  explained how  scientists determined  the                                                               
tiny coho travel one mile each  way, every day, to the cold water                                                               
where they  feed on  sockeye eggs,  and then  return to  the warm                                                               
water in  the same stream  to digest.   He concluded  the habitat                                                               
provides  a  variety  in  temperature,   but  must  also  provide                                                               
connectivity between the various  benefits of habitat (slide 11).                                                               
Bristol Bay  and similar reliable  fisheries have  complexity and                                                               
variation,  thus elements  of risk  must include  both risk  from                                                               
catastrophic  events,  and  risk  from  the  subtle  and  chronic                                                               
effects  of mine  infrastructure, such  as roads  and powerlines,                                                               
that add  to risk by simplifying  the habitat (slide 12).   Slide                                                               
13  provided  examples of  how  development  affects fish  -  the                                                               
magnitude of  which depends  upon the  location and  operation of                                                               
the mines - as follows:                                                                                                         
   • sulfuric acid mine drainage                                                                                                
   • copper is a known toxin to fish, and indirectly reduces                                                                    
     their ability to "smell their way home, [and] smell their                                                                  
     predators, et cetera"                                                                                                      
   • dust, groundwater, and erosion make containment of                                                                         
     contaminants challenging                                                                                                   
   • dewatering streams and wetlands that are critical fish                                                                     
   • roads and other infrastructure prevent erosion that                                                                        
     generates varied habitat                                                                                                   
   • impacts can be permanent                                                                                                   
   • risks can be unknown for decades                                                                                           
2:26:21 PM                                                                                                                    
DR. SCHINDLER acknowledged  the EPA was criticized  for issuing a                                                               
risk  assessment  without  a specific  mine  plan;  however,  EPA                                                               
developed scenarios  for a large  and a small mine  that included                                                               
all of the  risks shown on slide  13.  Slide 14 was  a picture of                                                               
the 2015 Samarco  mine tailings dam failure in  Brazil, and slide                                                               
15 was a picture of the  2014 Mount Polley dam failure in British                                                               
Columbia, Canada.   He pointed out the risks to  Bristol Bay must                                                               
also  include subtle  and chronic  issues "that  may take  a long                                                               
time to  develop ... it's  the death  of a thousand  cuts issue";                                                               
for example, a  road - not associated with a  mine - disconnected                                                               
wetlands from  the main  channel of  the Chena  River, preventing                                                               
the river  from regenerating  new habitat (slide  16).   Slide 17                                                               
was a  map of mining deposits  in the Bristol Bay  region, and he                                                               
     If  you  cover  this  area in  mines,  tailings  ponds,                                                                    
     roads, pipelines,  et cetera, you can  guarantee you're                                                                    
     taking away options  for fish, and this has  to be part                                                                    
     of the assessment  when we think about  risks to Alaska                                                                    
     and its  fisheries, relative to the  rewards of pulling                                                                    
     minerals out of the ground.                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE RAUSCHER  returned attention to the  second bullet                                                               
point on slide 13, and observed the Copper River supports fish.                                                                 
DR.   SCHINDLER  agreed   there  is   copper  naturally   in  the                                                               
environment  and, following  acid  mine drainage  that makes  the                                                               
water  more  acidic,  the  copper  becomes  more  soluble,  which                                                               
increases  the concentration  of copper;  in addition,  there are                                                               
factors of  the local chemistry  and geology.   What is  known is                                                               
the rocks have a lot of  copper and potential to produce sulfuric                                                               
acid, and have little buffering capacity.                                                                                       
2:31:01 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE BIRCH  asked how  UW's research  on this  issue is                                                               
DR.  SCHINDLER said  the  program was  established  in 1946  with                                                               
funding  from  the  fishing  industry;  in  the  last  20  years,                                                               
additional funding  has been received  from a variety  of sources                                                               
such   as  peer-reviewed   grants  from   the  National   Science                                                               
Foundation,  private  funding from  the  Gordon  and Betty  Moore                                                               
Foundation,  and partnerships  with the  Bristol Bay  Science and                                                               
Research Institute, the Bristol  Bay Regional Seafood Development                                                               
Association, and the U. S.  Fish and Wildlife Service, Department                                                               
of the Interior.  He added his personal work is unpaid.                                                                         
REPRESENTATIVE  BIRCH asked  whether  UW is  engaged in  hatchery                                                               
DR. SCHINDLER  said UW  has a long  history of  hatchery research                                                               
and  has withdrawn  from hatchery  work  because "...  hatcheries                                                               
cause more damage to wild stocks  than they do good for fisheries                                                               
and fishing communities."                                                                                                       
CO-CHAIR  TARR returned  attention to  Dr. Schindler's  statement                                                               
about the importance of the Bristol  Bay fishery because it is an                                                               
entirely  wild  fishery and  is  not  supplemented with  hatchery                                                               
DR. SCHINDLER  said the unique  genetic diversity of  Bristol Bay                                                               
salmon  is intact,  unlike  salmon of  the  Columbia River,  most                                                               
places in  British Columbia, and  any place south  of Washington.                                                               
Hatcheries  have  essentially  polluted   the  genetics  of  wild                                                               
stocks.  Although fish return  to their natal stream, some stray,                                                               
and  research has  proven  genes from  hatchery  fish reduce  the                                                               
fitness of  wild populations; therefore,  hatcheries are  not the                                                               
solution  to  maintaining  habitat and  preserving  fisheries  in                                                               
2:35:07 PM                                                                                                                    
RICK   HALFORD,   Consultant,   UTBB,   provided   a   PowerPoint                                                               
presentation  entitled, "Bristol  Bay &  The Pebble  Mine."   Mr.                                                               
Halford informed  the committee  he has worked  with most  of the                                                               
groups  in Bristol  Bay, has  flown [as  a commercial  pilot] for                                                               
most of the  news organizations involved in this issue,  and is a                                                               
guide.  He  explained he is not an anti-mining  person, and spoke                                                               
of  his  long  experience  as  a  former  legislator  working  on                                                               
legislation in support of mining  issues and with the support "of                                                               
the  Alaska  miners."   However,  after  years of  reviewing  the                                                               
Pebble  Mine,  he advised  although  most  [mines] do  work,  the                                                               
[Pebble  Mine]  does  not  work due  to  its  critical  location.                                                               
Further,  the  type  and  size   of  the  ore  body  are  "beyond                                                               
imagination" as presented by representatives  of the project.  He                                                               
suggested  the  committee  review  Attachment D  [to  the  Pebble                                                               
Project  application  to  the  U.S.   Army  Corps  of  Engineers,                                                               
provided in  the committee  packet], because  it is  the simplest                                                               
description of  the proposal, without  disclaimers.   Mr. Halford                                                               
said  [Pebble] presentations  are  based on  questions that  have                                                               
never been  answered, and  on previous  mine plans;  for example,                                                               
some of the  proposals were first presented and  rejected in 1991                                                               
by previous mine operators.  He  said [opposition to the mine] is                                                               
not just  environmental and local,  but "leaders of  the industry                                                               
worldwide,"  including Cameco,  Rio Tinto,  Mitsubishi Materials,                                                               
and  Anglo  American, have  rejected  the  Pebble Mine  based  on                                                               
economics  because of  the low-grade  ore body.   He  pointed out                                                               
page 14,  Attachment D, describes  a $10.8 billion prospect  - as                                                               
does  the  presentation to  shareholders  -  and not  the  1/10th                                                               
proposal Pebble  is marketing.  Slide  2 was a picture  of Frying                                                               
Pan  Lake; slide  3 illustrated  the  impact on  the Bristol  Bay                                                               
fishery by volume,  and he compared gravity  and the connectivity                                                               
of water to  that of blood in the human  circulatory system.  Mr.                                                               
Halford  said, "It's  not  just  the numbers  game  ... it's  the                                                               
reality of  the way  the water  system works,  the way  the human                                                               
body works, water  is the, the blood of the  ecosystem."  Slide 4                                                               
illustrated the actual size of  the deposit is 10.8 billion tons,                                                               
reaching  from 1,000  feet above  sea level  to about  4,400 feet                                                               
below sea level.  Mr. Halford  advised at the bottom and the east                                                               
of the  deposit, identified  as "open," are  some of  the highest                                                               
concentrations;   thus,  the   minimum   potential  proposed   to                                                               
shareholders is almost 11 billion  tons.  Slide 5 illustrated the                                                               
size of  recoverable ore  compared to other  mines; he  added the                                                               
Donlin [gold  mine] deposit is  also astronomically  smaller than                                                               
that of Pebble, and said,  "It's important to understand the, the                                                               
difference in what they're proposing  and what they really mean."                                                               
Mr.  Halford then  reviewed some  of the  activities of  the mine                                                               
plan  and emphasized,  "That's a  lot of  activity, that's  not a                                                               
small mine."  Continuing the  presentation, he directed attention                                                               
to  page 58,  Attachment D  [4.1.1. Water  Balance Model],  which                                                               
refers to  the water  balance between the  edge of  Upper Talarik                                                               
Creek and a  1,750-foot-deep hole, in an area  with 1,300 uncased                                                               
and unplugged  [boreholes].  He  cautioned as the hole  is pumped                                                               
out, the upper  end of Upper Talarik Creek will  disappear due to                                                               
water balance.                                                                                                                  
2:43:35 PM                                                                                                                    
MR. HALFORD urged the committee  to question state agencies about                                                               
water balance, because  this is a state land issue,  except for a                                                               
dredge and  fill permit, which is  one federal issue.   Also from                                                               
page 58 of Attachment D, he read a disclaimer as follows:                                                                       
     The ultimate project design will incorporate detailed                                                                      
     analysis of water collection and management ...                                                                            
MR. HALFORD  stressed the  project is  nowhere near  its ultimate                                                               
design  and questions  are  unanswered, such  as  the effects  of                                                               
digging a hole  1,000 feet down below  sea level.  On  page 63 of                                                               
Attachment D, he read as follows:                                                                                               
     The  accuracy of  water balance  models  is limited  by                                                                    
     many  factors including  the stochastic  nature of  the                                                                    
     inputs  and the  potential affects  of climate  change.                                                                    
     In recognition of these  limitations, an adaptive water                                                                    
     management strategy is planned.                                                                                            
MR. HALFORD  presented slides  6-7, which  were pictures  of mine                                                               
infrastructure,  and slide  8, which  was a  picture of  the mine                                                               
site  as it  is now.    He read  from  page 70,  Attachment D  as                                                               
follows [in part]:                                                                                                              
     Once mining  the open pit stops,  dewatering will stop,                                                                    
     and the  open pit will  begin to  flood.  The  pit will                                                                    
     continue  to  fill  until  the   pit  lake  is  formed.                                                                    
     Surface  runoff  from the  walls  may  result in  metal                                                                    
     leaching.  Water quality is  expected to be acidic with                                                                    
     elevated metals  due to overall  oxidation of  the open                                                                    
     pit walls.   Pit lake water quality  will be monitored,                                                                    
     and  appropriate  actions  will   be  taken  to  manage                                                                    
     wildlife activity on  the lake.  Once the  level of the                                                                    
     pit lake has  risen to about 890  feet, water treatment                                                                    
     will commence.                                                                                                             
MR. HALDORD presented slide 9 which  was a picture of a pit lake,                                                               
and said  water treatment would  prevent water from  flowing over                                                               
the top of the  pit; he warned the pit lake would  be the same as                                                               
the  [Berkley  Pit  and  pit   lake  in  Montana],  with  fencing                                                               
necessary to keep  out wildlife, and that anything  that lands on                                                               
the pit lake dies.  Continuing on page 70, he read as follows:                                                                  
     The reclamation  and closure bond package  will include                                                                    
     provisions for periodic  replacement of water treatment                                                                    
     facilities and  ongoing operating and  monitoring costs                                                                    
     over the long-term, post-closure period.                                                                                   
MR. HALFORD remarked:                                                                                                           
     This reads  like perpetual remediation, and  do we have                                                                    
     a  right to  pass that  on  to the  next generation  of                                                                    
     Alaskans, just  to monetize something in  conflict with                                                                    
     the  renewable  resources  that will  otherwise  go  on                                                                    
2:47:47 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  RAUSCHER  returned  attention   to  slide  8  and                                                               
pointed out  the picture is  of the  area in which  machinery was                                                               
brought in to drill 1,300 holes, which are now closed.                                                                          
CO-CHAIR  JOSEPHSON disagreed  that  all of  the 1,300  boreholes                                                               
were in the area shown on slide 8.                                                                                              
MR. HALFORD  agreed with  Representative Rauscher  that machinery                                                               
was needed  to drill  the holes  in that area.   He  presented an                                                               
exhibit  from  [a  legal  dispute]  in  2008-2009  [document  not                                                               
provided] and said:                                                                                                             
     ... doing  it takes  [putting] shoring out  there, [and                                                                    
     setting]  up  a   system,  and  it  was   all  done  by                                                                    
     helicopter.  This one is  a bad example, but there were                                                                    
     a lot  of good  examples, so you  can't say  that 1,300                                                                    
     holes  were, and  they weren't  all deep  holes either.                                                                    
     Some  of them  were  geophysical to  try  and tie  into                                                                    
     bedrock  and other  things, but  our objection  to this                                                                    
     one was that it was  in basically in wetlands, that's a                                                                    
     salmon stream  behind us.  And  as it - the  rig - kind                                                                    
     of beat itself down into  its own shoring, the drilling                                                                    
     mud spread everywhere,  and it was not  a good example,                                                                    
     from their perspective.                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  BIRCH   asked  for  an  estimate   of  employment                                                               
[numbers] proposed by the project.                                                                                              
MR. HALFORD  advised employment information  was included  in the                                                               
presentation [at  the House Resources Standing  Committee meeting                                                               
on 2/16/18].                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE BIRCH  estimated the  value of  the deposit  to be                                                               
$300  billion and  questioned whether  Mr. Halford  estimated the                                                               
current value of the project to be $30 billion.                                                                                 
MR.  HALFORD said  the value  is about  10 percent  of the  total                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE BIRCH  asked Mr.  Halford whether he  was speaking                                                               
as a volunteer or represented an employer.                                                                                      
MR. HALFORD  said he has  a current  contract for advice  to UTBB                                                               
and has  also worked  for a  number of  other organizations.   He                                                               
then  referred to  a statement  by  Mark Hamilton  [at the  House                                                               
Resources Standing Committee meeting  on 2/16/18] that Pebble has                                                               
requested  "normal  standards,"  and said  Pebble  has  requested                                                               
formal   approval    under   the   [Fixing    America's   Surface                                                               
Transportation   (FAST-41)  Act]   program,   that  would   grant                                                               
expedited  federal  review  of  their  permit  application.    He                                                               
offered to provide copies of said request.                                                                                      
2:52:06 PM                                                                                                                    
TOM  TILDEN, First  Chief, Curyung  Tribal Council,  informed the                                                               
committee  he was  speaking  as  a board  member  of the  village                                                               
corporation of Choggiung Ltd., which  owns land at the lower part                                                               
of the Nushagak River.  He said  he is a fisherman and his father                                                               
came to Alaska  in the winter of 1932 prospecting  for gold.  Mr.                                                               
Tilden related  his father's  story of not  finding much  gold in                                                               
the Mulchatna River  so instead he caught animals  and sold their                                                               
fur in  the spring.   Mr.  Tilden's father  found "gold,"  not in                                                               
mineral form,  but in  the furs  and salmon  he caught  and sold.                                                               
Mr.  Tilden said  he has  made his  living as  a subsistence  and                                                               
commercial  fisherman  since  1965,   fishing  many  methods  for                                                               
salmon, herring, and  halibut.  Before the  commercial season, he                                                               
puts fish  away for the  winter.  He grew  up with his  family on                                                               
the  Nushagak River  in the  village of  Portage Creek,  living a                                                               
subsistence lifestyle,  and depending  upon natural  resources to                                                               
survive.   He  described  in  detail his  family's  use of  fish,                                                               
animals, berries  from the land, and  birds from the air,  all of                                                               
which depend on  clean water.  Further, he pointed  out the water                                                               
system  provides transportation  in  winter and  summer, and  all                                                               
rivers  in Alaska  need  protection; in  fact,  according to  the                                                               
Alaska  State Constitution,  the  resources are  for  all, and  a                                                               
driving force behind statehood was  the concept that Alaska would                                                               
manage and protect its own resources.                                                                                           
2:57:25 PM                                                                                                                    
MR. TILDEN related a two-year  study found village residents seek                                                               
the preservation  of natural resources and  development that does                                                               
not  harm  natural resources.    He  advised:   Pebble  Mine  has                                                               
promised jobs, but  would not put its promise  in writing; Pebble                                                               
said it  would be  a good  steward of  the environment,  but took                                                               
water for  two years without  a permit; Pebble initially  did not                                                               
cap the  wells as required by  the state.  Due  to exploration, a                                                               
negative impact to  the community of Newhalen  is that low-flying                                                               
aircraft have caused  the moose and caribou to move  due to noise                                                               
pollution.   Mr.  Tilden  visited  the Mount  Polley  [site of  a                                                               
tailings dam  failure], Gibraltar,  and Highland mines  in Canada                                                               
and  said the  Gibraltar  and Highland  mines  cannot compare  to                                                               
Pebble because they import water,  but Pebble has too much water.                                                               
In  addition,  Gibraltar and  Highland  mines  are located  in  a                                                               
highland area  and have different geology  and hydrology, whereas                                                               
Pebble is in a wetlands area.                                                                                                   
3:02:39 PM                                                                                                                    
MR.  TILDEN questioned  why Rio  Tinto and  Anglo would  withdraw                                                               
from  the  Pebble project  after  making  large investments,  and                                                               
cautioned shareholders may pressure the  Pebble Mine to amend its                                                               
plan and use cyanide, because it  is the most efficient and cost-                                                               
effective way to extract gold.   Mr. Tilden urged all Alaskans to                                                               
look closely at the project plan  and to consider the value of an                                                               
abundance of water  to the future of the state.   In fact, water,                                                               
natural beauty, and tourism are  Alaska's future resource, and he                                                               
agreed with [former First Lady  Bella Hammond] when, in 2009, she                                                               
said it is time to decide what we really value.                                                                                 
3:07:19 PM                                                                                                                    
There being no  further business before the  committee, the House                                                               
Resources Standing Committee meeting was adjourned at 3:07 p.m.                                                                 

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
Kerrisdale Capital Releases Negative Report on Northern Dynasty Minerals Ltd.pdf HRES 2/19/2018 1:00:00 PM
Kerrisdale Summary Negative Report.pdf HRES 2/19/2018 1:00:00 PM
Pebble Factsheet-Trout Unlmtd.pdf HRES 2/19/2018 1:00:00 PM
Witness List, Pebble Opponents .docx HRES 2/19/2018 1:00:00 PM
1 Chambers Pebble presentation.pdf HRES 2/19/2018 1:00:00 PM
2 Schindler Pebble Presentation.pdf HRES 2/19/2018 1:00:00 PM
3 Halford Pebble Presentation.pdf HRES 2/19/2018 1:00:00 PM
Trout Unlimited Packet.pdf HRES 2/19/2018 1:00:00 PM
Project Description_USACE Applic..pdf HRES 2/19/2018 1:00:00 PM
Partnership req for FAST federal permitting.pdf HRES 2/19/2018 1:00:00 PM
2018-03-09 -- BB Scoping ltr to Corps.pdf HRES 2/19/2018 1:00:00 PM