Legislature(2019 - 2020)BARNES 124

04/01/2019 01:00 PM RESOURCES

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Audio Topic
01:03:59 PM Start
01:05:20 PM HJR10
01:10:35 PM Presentation(s): Pebble Project Status and Update
03:12:10 PM Adjourn
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
+= HJR 10 SUPPORTING ROAD BELT ELECTRICAL LINE TELECONFERENCED
Moved CSHJR 10(RES) Out of Committee
-- Testimony <Invitation Only> --
+ Presentation: Pebble Project Status & Update on TELECONFERENCED
Permitting & Environmental Impact Statement by
- Norman Van Vactor, CEO, Bristol Bay Regional
Development Corp.
- Daniel Schindler, Professor, School of Aquatic
& Fishery Sciences, University of Washington
- Camron Wobus, Senior Scientist, Lynker
Technologies
- Rick Halford, Former AK Senator & Consultant,
Bristol Bay Coalition
-- Testimony <Invitation Only> --
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled TELECONFERENCED
                    ISSUEDALASKA STATE LEGISLATURE                                                                            
                  HOUSE RESOURCES STANDING COMMITTEE                                                                          
                            April 1, 2019                                                                                       
                              1:03 p.m.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
MEMBERS PRESENT                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
Representative Geran Tarr, Co-Chair                                                                                             
Representative Grier Hopkins, Vice Chair                                                                                        
Representative Sara Hannan                                                                                                      
Representative Ivy Spohnholz                                                                                                    
Representative Chris Tuck                                                                                                       
Representative Dave Talerico                                                                                                    
Representative George Rauscher                                                                                                  
Representative Sara Rasmussen                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
Representative John Lincoln, Co-Chair                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
OTHER LEGISLATORS PRESENT                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
Representative Dan Ortiz                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
HOUSE JOINT RESOLUTION NO. 10                                                                                                   
Supporting development  of the road belt electrical  transmission line;                                                         
and urging members  of the Alaska delegation in Congress  to pursue the                                                         
development of  this high- voltage  electrical line in the  interior of                                                         
the state.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
     - MOVED CSHJR 10(RES) OUT OF COMMITTEE                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
PRESENTATION(S):  PEBBLE PROJECT STATUS AND UPDATE                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
     - HEARD                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
PREVIOUS COMMITTEE ACTION                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
BILL: HJR 10                                                                                                                  
SHORT TITLE: SUPPORTING ROAD BELT ELECTRICAL LINE                                                                               
SPONSOR(s): REPRESENTATIVE(s) TALERICO                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
03/04/19        (H)        READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                      
03/04/19        (H)        ENE, RES                                                                                             
03/14/19        (H)        ENE AT 10:15 AM CAPITOL 17                                                                           
03/14/19        (H)        Moved CSHJR 10(ENE) Out of Committee                                                                 
03/14/19        (H)        MINUTE(ENE)                                                                                          
03/15/19        (H)        ENE RPT CS(ENE) 4DP 2NR                                                                              
03/15/19        (H)        DP: RAUSCHER, PRUITT, FIELDS, SPOHNHOLZ                                                              
03/15/19        (H)        NR: ZULKOSKY, HOPKINS                                                                                
03/29/19        (H)        RES AT 1:00 PM BARNES 124                                                                            
03/29/19        (H)        Heard & Held                                                                                         
03/29/19        (H)        MINUTE(RES)                                                                                          
04/01/19        (H)        RES AT 1:00 PM BARNES 124                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
WITNESS REGISTER                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
GAYLA HOSETH, Second Chief                                                                                                      
Curyung Tribal Council; Director                                                                                                
Natural Resources                                                                                                               
Bristol Bay Native Association                                                                                                  
Dillingham, Alaska                                                                                                              
POSITION STATEMENT:   Testified  during the  Pebble Project  status and                                                       
update presentation and answered questions.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
NORM VAN VACTOR, President/CEO                                                                                                  
Bristol Bay Economic Development Corporation                                                                                    
Dillingham, Alaska                                                                                                              
POSITION STATEMENT:   Testified  during the  Pebble Project  status and                                                       
update presentation and answered questions.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
JASON METROKIN, President/CEO                                                                                                   
Bristol Bay Native Corporation                                                                                                  
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION  STATEMENT:   Answered  questions  during  the Pebble  Project                                                       
status and update presentation.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
DANIEL SCHINDLER, PhD                                                                                                           
School of Aquatic and Fishery Sciences                                                                                          
University of Washington                                                                                                        
Seattle, Washington                                                                                                             
POSITION  STATEMENT:    Provided a  PowerPoint  presentation  entitled,                                                       
"Bristol  Bay  fisheries and  water  quality:    does the  Pebble  DEIS                                                         
adequately assess risks?", during the  Pebble Project status and update                                                         
presentation, and answered questions.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
CAMERON WOBUS, PhD                                                                                                              
Senior Scientist                                                                                                                
Lynker                                                                                                                          
Boulder, Colorado                                                                                                               
POSITION  STATEMENT:    Provided a  PowerPoint  presentation  entitled,                                                       
"Risks and Impacts  from a Tailings Dam Failure at  the Proposed Pebble                                                         
Mine,"  dated  4/1/19, during  the  Pebble  Project status  and  update                                                         
presentation, and answered questions.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
RICK HALFORD, Consultant                                                                                                        
Bristol Bay Coalition                                                                                                           
Eagle River, Alaska                                                                                                             
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in  opposition during the Pebble Project                                                       
status and update presentation and answered a question.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
ACTION NARRATIVE                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
1:03:59 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR  GERAN  TARR called  the  House Resources  Standing  Committee                                                       
meeting to order at 1:03 p.m.   Representatives Tuck, Hannan, Talerico,                                                         
Spohnholz,   and   Tarr   were   present  at   the   call   to   order.                                                         
Representatives  Hopkins,  Rasmussen,  and   Rauscher  arrived  as  the                                                         
meeting was in progress.  Representative Ortiz was also in attendance.                                                          
                                                                                                                                
             HJR 10-SUPPORTING ROAD BELT ELECTRICAL LINE                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
1:05:20 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR  TARR announced  that the  first  order of  business would  be                                                         
HOUSE JOINT RESOLUTION NO. 10, Supporting  development of the road belt                                                         
electrical  transmission  line;  and   urging  members  of  the  Alaska                                                         
delegation in Congress to pursue the  development of this high- voltage                                                         
electrical line in the interior of the state.                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
[Before  the committee  was CSHJR 10(ENE),  reported  out of the  House                                                         
Special Committee on Energy on 3/15/19.]                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
1:06:05 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR  TARR  moved  to adopt  Amendment  1,  labeled  31-LS0596\U.1,                                                         
Fisher, 3/19/19.                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
     Page 2, following line 15:                                                                                                 
           Insert new material to read:                                                                                         
           "WHEREAS  development  of  the  road  belt   electrical                                                            
     transmission  line would  benefit the  agricultural  industry                                                              
     in  the  Delta Junction  area  by  allowing the  industry  to                                                              
     become   more   cost  effective   and  competitive   and   by                                                              
     increasing the industry's ability to expand; and"                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
     Page 2, line 28, following "Interior,":                                                                                    
          Insert "the Honorable Sonny Perdue, United States                                                                     
     Secretary of Agriculture;"                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE RAUSCHER objected for discussion purposes.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR  TARR  explained  Amendment  1  relates  to  the  agricultural                                                         
opportunities that  could be  expanded by  the intertie  project within                                                         
CSHJR  10(ENE).   She  said  the amendment  is  supported  by the  bill                                                         
sponsor.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
1:06:44 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE RAUSCHER removed his objection.   There being no further                                                         
objection, Amendment 1 was adopted.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  TALERICO  expressed  appreciation for  the  committee's                                                         
consideration of the bill.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
1:07:33 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  HOPKINS  moved to  report  CSHJR  10(ENE), labeled  31-                                                         
LS0596\U, as amended, out of  committee with individual recommendations                                                         
and the accompanying  fiscal notes.  There being  no further objection,                                                         
CSHJR  10(RES)  was  reported  out  of  the  House  Resources  Standing                                                         
Committee.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
1:08:09 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
The committee took an at-ease from 1:08 p.m. to 1:10 p.m.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
^PRESENTATION(S):  PEBBLE PROJECT STATUS AND UPDATE                                                                             
          PRESENTATION(S):  PEBBLE PROJECT STATUS AND UPDATE                                                                
                                                                                                                              
1:10:35 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                              
CO-CHAIR  TARR  announced   the  final  order  of   business  would  be                                                         
presentations related to the Pebble Project status and update.                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
1:12:25 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
GAYLA  HOSETH,  Second  Chief, Curyung  Tribal  Council  and  Director,                                                         
Natural Resources,  Bristol Bay Native Association  (BBNA), paraphrased                                                         
from the following written statement [original punctuation provided]:                                                           
                                                                                                                                
     Good  morning, my name  is Gayla Hoseth, I  am the 2nd  Chief                                                              
     of  Curyung  Tribal  Council  and  the  Director  of  Natural                                                              
     Resources  for Bristol Bay Native Association in  Dillingham,                                                              
     AK.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
     My  colleagues  and  I  have  travelled  from  our  homes  in                                                              
     Bristol  Bay and  beyond because  Bristol Bay's  communities,                                                              
     businesses,  culture, and subsistence  way of life are  under                                                              
     looming  threat  from  the  irresponsible   and  unacceptable                                                              
     Pebble  Mine project. Not  only is Bristol  Bay my home  that                                                              
     sustains  our regions subsistence way  of life, but it's  the                                                              
     state's  largest and  most valuable  salmon fishing  industry                                                              
     for  commercial  and  sport fishers.     We  are  here  today                                                              
     because  the US  Federal government is  pushing this  project                                                              
     forward  with  an inadequate  Draft  EIS  that's based  on  a                                                              
     false  mine plan,  an incomplete  permit  application, and  a                                                              
     politically  driven  timeline that  is silencing  the  voices                                                              
     and concerns of Alaskans.                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
     The  Environmental  Impact  Statement produced  by  the  Army                                                              
     Corps  of Engineers for  Pebble utterly  fails the people  of                                                              
     Bristol  Bay  and  all  Alaskans.   In  the  EIS,  the  Corps                                                              
     blatantly   ignores  well-documented   science,   potentially                                                              
     catastrophic  risks, and  the health  and  well-being of  our                                                              
     people.   Since Day 1, the Army Corps has made it clear  that                                                              
     they  fully intend to push forward a mine that Alaskans  have                                                              
     said  time  and  time again  we  don't want.  They  are  more                                                              
     interested  in doing favors  for the Pebble Partnership  than                                                              
     ground-truthing  Pebble's false claims  and incomplete  data.                                                              
     That's NOT how our permitting process should work.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
     Most  importantly we  are here  today to urge  our state  and                                                              
     national  elected-officials - who were elected by Alaskans  -                                                              
     to  represent Alaskans,  not Outside  corporations that  want                                                              
     to  make every  dime that  they  can from  our resources.  We                                                              
     need   Senator   Lisa  Murkowski,   Senator   Dan   Sullivan,                                                              
     Congressman  Don Young  and Governor Mike  Dunleavy to  stand                                                              
     up and do what is best for the people who elected them.                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
     To  my fellow Alaskans,  please don't  be fooled by  Pebble's                                                              
     shiny  marketing and promises of  jobs and a "smaller"  fish-                                                              
     friendly  mine. Their lies  are based on  profit and will  be                                                              
     at  the expense of you, your family, and our state's  future.                                                              
     The  draft EIS, even in its  current state, makes it  crystal                                                              
     clear   that  the   massive,  phase-one   Pebble  mine,   and                                                              
     expansion  and  additional  mines that  would  follow,  would                                                              
     cause  wide-spread, irreversible  harm to the  health of  our                                                              
     people,   our   pristine  waters,   our   renewable   natural                                                              
     resources,  and  the communities  and businesses  of  Bristol                                                              
     Bay.  As an example  of the attitude  the dEIS approaches  us                                                              
     with  is consider  how they  discuss  local spills.   In  the                                                              
     dEIS  chapter 4-27 page  110, the spill  risk chapter,  local                                                              
     spills  are described as local job opportunities to clean  up                                                              
     their messes.  This is an absolute slap in the face.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
     We  must protect  Bristol Bay  now  more than  ever for  this                                                              
     generation  and most importantly  for the future  generations                                                              
     to  come. There is no other  place in the world like  Bristol                                                              
     Bay  and let me  remind everyone again    Bristol Bay is  the                                                              
     home  of the World's  Last Largest Wild  Sockeye Salmon  Run!                                                              
     Let's  not make  the same  mistakes  in other  places of  the                                                              
     world and say NO Pebble mine  NO Action Alternative.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
     Thank you.                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
1:16:30 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE HOPKINS asked whether Ms. Hoseth is aware of written                                                             
support for the Pebble project from local villages or governments in                                                            
the region.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MS. HOSETH said BBNA has issued a resolution in opposition to the                                                               
project.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE HOPKINS restated his question.                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
MS. HOSETH said there are some in favor of the project.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
1:17:38 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
NORM VAN VACTOR, President/CEO, Bristol Bay Economic Development                                                                
Corporation (BBEDC), paraphrased from the following written statement                                                           
[original punctuation provided]:                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
     Co-Chair Lincoln, Co-Chair Tarr,  House Resources Committee                                                                
     and Staff. Thank you for the opportunity  to be here this                                                                  
     afternoon and to testify on what  I feel is one of the most                                                                
     important issues if the the most  important issue of my life                                                               
     time and career. Sad to say but  this single issue has been                                                                
     driving and burning within me  for the last 18 years. And                                                                  
     sadly it's no April Fool's Joke! My name is Norman Van                                                                     
     Vactor and I live in Bristol Bay.  I am the CEO of Bristol                                                                 
     Bay Economic Development Corporation  which is wholly owned                                                                
     and operated by 17 Coastal Communities  from the region and                                                                
     we have our corporate offices  in Dillingham Alaska. Bristol                                                               
     Bay means business. We are a major  cornerstone of Alaska's                                                                
     seafood industry.                                                                                                          
     ? At a time when many salmon populations  around Alaska are                                                                
     experiencing record-low returns,  Bristol Bay remains the                                                                  
     exception with record-high returns.  One could say we are                                                                  
     buoying the entire Alaska seafood industry right now.                                                                      
     ? Bristol Bay is an economic engine .                                                                                      
      48 percent of Alaska's total salmon ex-vessel value in                                                                    
     2018                                                                                                                       
      43M fish harvested in Bristol  Bay in 2018; 38 percent of                                                                 
     Alaska's total number of salmon harvested                                                                                  
     Directly employs 14,765 people  Generates $658 Million in                                                                  
     total labor income/year Regional subsistence fisheries                                                                     
     provide 99 lbs. of salmon per  capita;without that renewable                                                               
     "free" protein, many people who  call Bristol Bay would be                                                                 
     hard pressed to afford alternative protein. Subsistence                                                                    
     foods are core to so many.The  Fishery on average generates                                                                
     $14.7 M in revenue for local government  entities (2013-17);                                                               
     it more than pays for itself when  it comes to management                                                                  
     expenses                                                                                                                   
     ? Bristol Bay's salmon fishery  is still thriving after 135                                                                
     years; and will continue to do  so if we make sure the fish                                                                
     have what they need to survive:  access to healthy habitat,                                                                
     clean, free-flowing water. We have seen in Lower 48 and                                                                    
     around the world what happens  when salmon don't have those                                                                
     things...Alaska has the advantage  of learning from history.                                                               
     We can't pretend that we don't know any better.                                                                            
     ? Bristol Bay's salmon fishery  is such a success because                                                                  
     it's managed by SCIENCE and rigorous  regulations. Science                                                                 
     drives the decision-making, not industry speculation,                                                                      
     fantasies, or good intentions. Why are we not approaching                                                                  
     our mineral development the same  way? Alaska should be                                                                    
     upholding strong standards and science-based permitting in                                                                 
     ALL industries, not just some.                                                                                             
     ? If Pebble goes in, the Bristol Bay Sockeye brand and the                                                                 
     entire Alaska Seafood brand will  be tarnished. The State of                                                               
     Alaska has invested $ Millions into building these brands                                                                  
     and establishing Alaska as a premium brand in the                                                                          
     marketplace. That brand is based on pristine habitat,                                                                      
     sustainability, and high quality  - not open-pit mining                                                                    
     districts and acid mine drainage. The Pebble Partnership                                                                   
     hasn't proven that their mine pencils out on paper - and                                                                   
     can't because it doesn't.                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
1:22:24 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR. VAN VACTOR continued:                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
     ? Pebble has failed to provide  an economic feasibility                                                                    
     analysis to support its proposed 20 year mine plan. It is                                                                  
     common industry practice for a  mining company to first                                                                    
     produce a pre-feasibility study  to analyze the economic                                                                   
     viability of the proposed project. The Pebble Proposal is                                                                  
     the only large mine proposal in  Alaska in the last 20 years                                                               
     not to have a pre-feasibility study.                                                                                       
     ? The pre-feasibility study serves  dual purposes. First, it                                                               
     is used to help the company and investors understand                                                                       
     whether the project is financially viable and to comply                                                                    
     with financial auditing requirements  of the Canadian and US                                                               
     stock exchanges. It also helps define the scope of a                                                                       
     "realistic" mine project to inform  the NEPA process and the                                                               
     environmental impacts analysis.                                                                                            
     ? We don't even know if Pebble  is financially feasible, and                                                               
     yet we are spending precious state dollars and resources                                                                   
     reviewing a plan that doesn't pencil out.                                                                                  
     ? Neither the DEIS nor Pebble  have proven that this project                                                               
     is financially feasible and when  asked about financial                                                                    
     feasibility they refuse to answer  questions or provide                                                                    
     information. And yet, they want  us to risk a renewable                                                                    
     economic engine that employs thousands  of Alaskans and                                                                    
     generates hundreds of millions  in annual income every year?                                                               
     ? Financial feasibility is important  because it gives a                                                                   
     realistic scope of the project. This is what should drive                                                                  
     any analysis of impacts, risk avoidance and mitigation.                                                                    
     ? There is no closure and mitigation  plan in the Army                                                                     
     Corps' DEIS. Why? Because Pebble knows this small mine is                                                                  
     not feasible and they don't plan  to close the mine after 20                                                               
     years. Why would they? If Pebble  closed down after 20 years                                                               
     they would leave 88 percent of  the ore body in the ground.                                                                
     They need the open pit to expand to the underground mining                                                                 
     option.                                                                                                                    
     ? The lack of financial information  compromises the value                                                                 
     of any environmental impact analysis and calls into                                                                        
     question the validity of the process.                                                                                      
     ? Richard Borden a very senior  Former Rio Tinto executive                                                                 
     has recently expressed serious  concerns about The Pebble                                                                  
     Partnerships claims. As noted  in a letter he prepared on                                                                  
     March 28, 2019, and I quote "...the technical rigor of the                                                                 
     EIS process may be compromised if no cost data are                                                                         
     available to help select the "least environmentally                                                                        
     damaging practicable alternative."                                                                                         
     ? Mr. Borden's economic assessment shows a likely "$3                                                                      
     billion dollar loss" given the economic realities of the 20                                                                
     year mine plan.                                                                                                            
     ? As noted by Mr. Borden, "[i]f the base case mine plan                                                                    
     assumed for the EIS is not economic, then the entire                                                                       
     permitting process risks being compromised because the                                                                     
     impacts and risks being evaluated  are much smaller than                                                                   
     those required for a full-scale economically viable                                                                        
     project. In other words, the EIS is not evaluating the                                                                     
     "least environmentally damaging practicable alternative.                                                                   
     This is the standard required  under the Clean Water Act.                                                                  
     ? He went on to say, [t]o help ensure the integrity of the                                                                 
     EIS process, and in fairness to local communities, the                                                                     
     State of Alaska and to shareholders, I believe the Pebble                                                                  
     Partnership is obligated to publicly release a new                                                                         
     preliminary economic assessment  for the proposed smaller                                                                  
     and lower-grade mine that the  Army Corps of Engineers is                                                                  
     currently reviewing?" SEE RICHARD BORDEN LETTER, MARCH 28,                                                                 
     2019 A permitting process is only  so good as the public's                                                                 
     confidence in the process.                                                                                                 
     ? BBEDC has no confidence in the  Army Corps conducting a                                                                  
     rigorous, science-based process  for the Pebble Mine. We                                                                   
     have not seen anything from them that gives us confidence                                                                  
     that they are looking out for  what's best for Bristol Bay's                                                               
     salmon and the people and businesses that depend on                                                                        
     them.                                                                                                                      
     ? We have one shot to do this permitting process right. To                                                                 
     allow Pebble to drive this permitting process makes no                                                                     
     sense and defeats the purpose  of a permitting process in                                                                  
     the first place. This process  should be testing Pebble's                                                                  
     assumptions and promises, not  taking Pebble at its word.                                                                  
     ? What's the message that we want  to send to the rest of                                                                  
     the country and world?... That we are a boom and bust state                                                                
     willing to sacrifice our children's  future so that a few                                                                  
     mining executives can make a few  bucks? Or that we are a                                                                  
     free-thinking, resilient state that is committed to                                                                        
     protecting what we value and doing  things better? All of                                                                  
     you here will determine the answer to that question?                                                                       
     Bristol Bay supports the greatest wild salmon fishery left                                                                 
     on earth and impacts thousands of Alaskans. As such it                                                                     
     deserves a rigorous permitting process with adequate                                                                       
     opportunities for the public/Alaskans to weigh in. This                                                                    
     permitting process is happening under your watchit's your                                                                  
     job (yes our job) to ensure that our state is not cheated                                                                  
     by phony mine and a corrupt permitting process.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
MR. VAN  VACTOR added BBEDC  represents 17 coastal  communities located                                                         
within 50  nautical miles  of the  shoreline, all  of which  oppose the                                                         
project.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
1:27:08 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  RASMUSSEN   related  she  has  constituents   who  have                                                         
migrated to her  district from the Bristol Bay area  because of closing                                                         
schools  and  a   lack  of  opportunities.     She  questioned  whether                                                         
infrastructure provided  by the  Pebble project would  be a  benefit to                                                         
the region.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MR.  VAN VACTOR  explained  migration is  attributed  to many  reasons:                                                         
youth  are  attracted  by  movies and  malls;  however,  if  given  the                                                         
opportunity to explore,  many return home or  are successful elsewhere.                                                         
The development phase of  the project is short and would  be built by a                                                         
migrant workforce of technical and  specialized individuals.  He opined                                                         
the  concept that  a  significant portion  of  the  workforce would  be                                                         
comprised of residents is unrealistic.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  RASMUSSEN  suggested  the   project  could  follow  the                                                         
success of the regional hire program at Red Dog mine.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
MR. VAN VACTOR cautioned a comparison  of Red Dog mine [with the Pebble                                                         
project] is  not a fair  comparison due  to the project's  location and                                                         
operations.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
1:30:16 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE RAUSCHER  compared the price  of Copper River  salmon to                                                         
that of  Bristol Bay  salmon and noted  there is  mining in  the Copper                                                         
River area.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MR. VAN VACTOR pointed out the scale  of the mining in the Copper River                                                         
basin and its proximity to the spawning  beds cannot be compared to the                                                         
proposed project.   Bristol Bay seeks to increase the  value of Bristol                                                         
Bay salmon; historically, a high percentage  of Bristol Bay salmon were                                                         
canned for the  market in Europe; now,  most of the salmon  are frozen,                                                         
and the cost differential with Copper River salmon is closing.                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
1:32:48 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  TUCK recalled  conflicting testimony  about whether  an                                                         
economic study  is part  of "a  normal" environmental  impact statement                                                         
(EIS) process.                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
MR. VAN VACTOR  explained for a project of this  magnitude, one expects                                                         
to see  financial viability proposals  and feasibility studies  for the                                                         
benefit of  stockholders and investors.   Previous work on  the project                                                         
by Rio Tinto and other  large-scale mining companies included financial                                                         
feasibility  studies; as  a result, the  previous participants  decided                                                         
the  project  was not  financially  viable.    Although at  this  time,                                                         
[financial] information is lacking,  the project has released estimates                                                         
of tax revenue that the project would generate.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE HANNAN asked for BBEDC's membership.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
1:35:33 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR. VAN VACTOR  said Togiak, Twin Hills,  Manokotak, Aleknagik, Portage                                                         
Creek, Clarks  Point, Ekwok, Port  Heiden, Pilot Point,  Ugashik, South                                                         
Naknek, Naknek, King Salmon, Levelock, and Ekuk.                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
1:36:23 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE HANNAN  asked how  many Tribal  members are  enrolled in                                                         
BBNA.                                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
MS. HOSETH estimated 31-32 Tribes.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR  TARR  recalled BBEDC  seeks  to return  [commercial  fishing]                                                         
permits back to ownership by local residents.                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
1:37:34 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR. VAN VACTOR acknowledged a major issue  in the region is the loss of                                                         
permits;  in  fact,  BBEDC  has  a  grant  program  with  the  goal  to                                                         
repatriate ownership of Alaska fishing  permits to residents of Bristol                                                         
Bay and  the state.   However, BBEDC,  due to  present time  and budget                                                         
constraints, has set aside this goal.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
MS. HOSETH  addressed the  issue of outward  migration.   She expressed                                                         
her  concern about  closing schools  and  related a  personal story  of                                                         
choosing to  send her daughter to  Anchorage for high  school; although                                                         
Bristol  Bay  residents   enjoy  living  outdoors  and   a  subsistence                                                         
lifestyle,  extracurricular  school  activities  are  important.    She                                                         
assured the  committee residents of  Bristol Bay always come  home from                                                         
urban  areas  in the  summer  for  commercial fishing  and  subsistence                                                         
hunting.   Ms. Hoseth stressed  the importance of  protecting resources                                                         
because our people live off the land.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE RASMUSSEN asked  how many Alaskans from  the Bristol Bay                                                         
region hold fishing permits.                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR. VAN  VACTOR said between  the gillnet  fleet and the  setnet fleet,                                                         
approximately 45-46 percent  of the active participants  in the Bristol                                                         
Bay salmon fishery are Alaska residents.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE SPOHNHOLZ asked how the  size of the Bristol Bay fishery                                                         
compares to that of other fisheries in the state.                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
MR. VAN  VACTOR said  Copper River  is smaller  than any  of the  river                                                         
systems that compose Bristol Bay.                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE SPOHNHOLZ  discussed the statistics associated  with the                                                         
Bristol Bay fishery, noting the fishery  supports 14,000 direct jobs as                                                         
compared to 750 jobs generated by the proposed project.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  TUCK  posed questions  related  to  access to  affected                                                         
Tribal lands, the  ownership of affected lands,  and subsurface mineral                                                         
rights.                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
1:45:33 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
JASON METROKIN,  President/CEO, Bristol Bay Native  Corporation (BBNC),                                                         
advised BBNC  owns approximately 3  million acres of  subsurface estate                                                         
throughout the  region, in  and around  the mine  site, and  spread out                                                         
along the river  systems and lake areas.  Around  the proposed project,                                                         
much of  the land  is owned  by the  state and  most of  the subsurface                                                         
rights around  the communities are owned  by BBNC: the surface  land is                                                         
owned by the respective village corporations.   Mr. Metrokin said there                                                         
are five  village corporations  around the Lake  Iliamna area  that are                                                         
nearby or adjacent to the proposed mine and its infrastructure.                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  TUCK asked  if  the new  proposed  20-year [mine]  plan                                                         
would require partnerships with any of the five village corporations.                                                           
                                                                                                                                
MR. METROKIN acknowledged surface and  subsurface owners of the acreage                                                         
would be impacted; he noted the  proposed mine has several alternatives                                                         
for a transportation  system, most of which would  cross surface estate                                                         
land of  the village  corporations and subsurface  land owned  by BBNC.                                                         
He   expressed   his   understanding  the   primary   and   alternative                                                         
transportation  corridors  would  require  the landowners  to  grant  a                                                         
right-of-way.                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  TUCK  questioned  whether the  rights-of-way  would  be                                                         
granted.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
MR. METROKIN said  BBNC is opposed  to the project and would  not grant                                                         
the  use  of its  Native  subsurface  land.    In further  response  to                                                         
Representative Tuck,  he said the  project and  the U.S. Army  Corps of                                                         
Engineers (USACE) are aware of BBNC's refusal.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  HANNAN  asked  for   clarification  of  the  impact  of                                                         
transportation corridors to subsurface land.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR. METROKIN explained  BBNC owns some surface acreage; if  a permit is                                                         
granted  for  a transportation  corridor,  BBNC  believes it  would  be                                                         
impossible to  develop a  transportation route  without impacts  to the                                                         
subsurface estate.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
1:50:29 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR  TARR  referred  to  concerns  about the  new  plan  that  has                                                         
[ferries crossing Lake Iliamna] and  trucks transporting ore, and their                                                         
impact on local residents.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
MR. VAN  VACTOR pointed  out the  land transportation  corridor entails                                                         
hundreds of  stream and river  crossings.   Many residents who  live on                                                         
Lake Iliamna have noted the size and  magnitude of the lake and how the                                                         
lake is significantly affected by wind and weather conditions.                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
MS. HOSETH added there are many  fish, mammals, land animals, and birds                                                         
that occupy the  lake and the region  who require clean water  and air.                                                         
In response  to an  earlier question,  she said  BBNA has  31 federally                                                         
recognized Tribes in the Bristol Bay region.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
1:54:16 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
DANIEL  SCHINDLER,  PhD,  School  of   Aquatic  and  Fishery  Sciences,                                                         
University  of  Washington  (UW), provided  a  PowerPoint  presentation                                                         
entitled, "Bristol  Bay fisheries and  water quality:  does  the Pebble                                                         
DEIS adequately  assess risks?"   Dr. Schindler informed  the committee                                                         
UW's Alaska  Salmon Program was initiated  in 1946 and  participants in                                                         
the program  spend three to  four months each  year in the  Bristol Bay                                                         
watersheds and elsewhere in Western  Alaska.  The information presented                                                         
is based  upon over  70 years  of study  of Bristol  Bay fish  habitat.                                                         
Slide 2 was an illustration of  Bristol Bay sockeye salmon returns from                                                         
1963-2018;  despite  125  years  of  intense  commercial  fishing,  and                                                         
thousands  of years  of subsistence  harvest, present  returns are  the                                                         
largest recorded  and provide economic  and cultural  opportunities for                                                         
the residents of  the region.  Dr. Schindler directed  attention to the                                                         
following  six inadequacies  of  the draft  environmental impact  study                                                         
(DEIS) [issued 2/20/19  by the U.S. Army Corps of  Engineers (USACE) on                                                         
the proposed Pebble Project] and  cautioned Alaskans should be dismayed                                                         
and outraged because the report is not credible science (slide 3):                                                              
                                                                                                                                
   • 1.) The timeframe is based on 70-75 years; however, acid mine                                                              
     drainage  is composed of sulfuric acid and  toxic metals that must                                                         
     be  stored and contained for  centuries, thus a risk  analysis has                                                         
     to  account for long-term potential risks of the mine beyond 20 to                                                         
     70  years.  Also,  ecological risks take  decades or longer  to be                                                         
     revealed,    therefore,   the   timeframe   is   too   short   and                                                         
     underestimates the indicators of risk (slide 4).                                                                           
   • 2.) The fish habitat assessments were based on two years of fish                                                           
     abundance  in  tributaries; as  known by  UW research,  a two-  to                                                         
     three-year  timeframe is a poor indicator of  a stream's long-term                                                         
     potential, and he provided two examples (slide 5).                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
1:59:44 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR TARR  asked how the impacts  of different aspects  of habitat,                                                         
such as water quality, are assessed.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
DR. SCHINDLER said some factors such  as water temperature and flow are                                                         
monitored; however, the fish count is primary.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  RASMUSSEN  referred to  slide  5  and observed  [salmon                                                         
escapement] from  Pick Creek  appears fairly stable.   She  surmised 20                                                         
years is a reliable long-term indication.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
DR. SCHINDLER agreed  some streams are more stable and  others are not;                                                         
in  fact,  the research  program  seeks  to  understand the  basis  for                                                         
variabilities, which  is unknown.   He explained early high  numbers in                                                         
Pick Creek  were attributed  to the natural  dewatering of  an upstream                                                         
pond.                                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
DR. SCHINDLER returned to the  fish habitat assessments, noting Bristol                                                         
Bay tributaries throughout the river  networks may be more important in                                                         
some years,  thus he characterized salmon  habitat in Bristol Bay  as a                                                         
portfolio of  habitat, which  stabilizes the  aggregate.   In addition,                                                         
the fish are  caught in the estuary,  so it is hard  to determine where                                                         
in the  watershed they were  produced (slide 6).   Slide 7  pictured an                                                         
otolith, the ear stone  of a fish, and he described how  a sample of an                                                         
otolith can be used to determine where  a fish was born.  Also pictured                                                         
was a  heat map  of salmon  production in  tributaries of  the Nushagak                                                         
River in 2011.   He compared slide 7 to slide 8,  which pictured a heat                                                         
map of salmon  production in tributaries of the Nushagak  River in 2014                                                         
and pointed  out areas of  highest production  are a mosaic  of habitat                                                         
that  constantly shift  through time.    Dr. Schindler  said, "So,  the                                                         
Nushagak  River  operates at  a  large  spatial scale;  the  individual                                                         
tributaries contribute to the long-term stability of it."                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
2:05:26 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE HANNAN asked Dr. Schindler  to describe the lifecycle of                                                         
Chinook and sockeye salmon in freshwater.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
DR. SCHINDLER  said both  king (Chinook) and  sockeye salmon  return to                                                         
spawn in  midsummer to late  summer; in  August or September,  eggs are                                                         
deposited in  gravel and fry  emerge into the  stream in May.   Sockeye                                                         
swim to a lake for two to three years  and leave as smolt, spend two or                                                         
three  years in  saltwater, and  return  to freshwater.   Chinook  eggs                                                         
spend one year in gravel, grow one  year in the river system, and leave                                                         
as smolt after  one year.  After  two-five years in the  ocean, Chinook                                                         
return  to freshwater.   Both species  return to  their natal  habitat,                                                         
navigating  by a  sense of  smell,  which is  [negatively] affected  by                                                         
heavy metals such as copper.                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE TUCK  recalled previous committee discussion  related to                                                         
interference with a salmon's ability  to smell caused by discharge from                                                         
cruise ships.  He asked about the effect from the Copper River.                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
2:09:17 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
DR.  SCHINDLER explained  the  interference with  a  salmon's sense  of                                                         
smell is  not an  acute response  but more  like one  "having a  cold."                                                         
Although there are copper deposits  in the Copper River, concentrations                                                         
are very  low.  He  said decades of  research indicate salmon  can make                                                         
local adaptations  to conditions  such as  water temperature  and water                                                         
chemistry;  however,  it is  unknown  whether  salmon have  adapted  to                                                         
tolerate copper.  For example, studies  in urban centers are clear that                                                         
in the short-term, copper is a devasting toxin to fish.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE RAUSCHER  observed the  Copper River has  large deposits                                                         
of copper that  are known to exist  because of the color  of the river,                                                         
and thus  the fish  may have  been affected  by other  factors such  as                                                         
global warming.                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
DR. SCHINDLER advised  the color of  the water is not from  copper, but                                                         
is from dissolved  organic carbon, a naturally  occurring phenomenon of                                                         
organic compounds.  In further  response to Representative Rauscher, he                                                         
explained   any  body   of  water   in   Alaska  has   copper  in   low                                                         
concentrations,  which  can  be  measured.     He  offered  to  provide                                                         
documentation on the copper levels found in the Copper River.                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  HANNAN asked  how much  time  a sockeye  spends in  the                                                         
Copper River before swimming to the ocean.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
2:14:21 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
DR.  SCHINDLER  said two  years:    one year  in  gravel  and one  year                                                         
swimming  in  lakes  and  rivers  as  fry.    In  further  response  to                                                         
Representative Hannan, he  said he would not speculate on  the size and                                                         
water quality  of lakes adjacent  to the  Copper River.   Dr. Schindler                                                         
continued to the third inadequacy (slide 3):                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
   • 3.) A standard component of an IES is cumulative risk because any                                                          
     development  project has  a series  of risks,  such as  a loss  of                                                         
     water  or  leaking contaminants;  however, the  DEIS assumes  each                                                         
     risk  occurs independently of  another, which is wrong.   Although                                                         
     DEIS  does assume [independent] cumulative effects,  these are the                                                         
     effects  over  time.    The  omission  of  cumulative  risks  that                                                         
     interact  with each  other leads to  a massive  underestimation of                                                         
     potential risks.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE TUCK  questioned whether [the underestimation  of risks]                                                         
is common to all DEISs.                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
DR.  SCHINDLER  acknowledged  in  general   EISs  tend  to  deemphasize                                                         
cumulative  risks, which  belies that  interacting stressors  are where                                                         
ecological  damage  is  done.   He  stated  for  30  years  peer-review                                                         
academic  literature  has  reported   cumulative  risks  are  typically                                                         
multiplicative,   but  the   Pebble  DEIS   assumes  stressors   to  be                                                         
independent in the  current isolation.  Dr. Schindler  continued to the                                                         
fourth, fifth, and sixth inadequacies (slides 12-14):                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
   • 4.) There is little discussion of the long-term treatment of                                                               
     wastes  even though the project data states some  of the rock will                                                         
     not  start generating acid mine drainage for two decades; however,                                                         
     the  waste must be maintained, stored, and retained for centuries.                                                         
     The  risk of  long-term treatment of  waste [should]  also include                                                         
     seismic  and climate related risks  such as floods, which  are not                                                         
     addressed in the DEIS.                                                                                                     
   • 5.) Climate change is a reality and Western Alaska is affected,                                                            
     thus  climate  change  risks should  be  multiplied  by the  risks                                                         
     associated  with development.  The reason the fisheries in Western                                                         
     Alaska  have not  been affected  by climate change  up to  now "is                                                         
     because  the  habitat  is  intact;  habitat is  the  insurance  to                                                         
     climate  change,  you start  eroding  the habitat,  you lose  your                                                         
     insurance to changing climate."                                                                                            
   • 6.) Scientists rely on previous publications; however, the DEIS                                                            
     includes  selective and  inappropriate use of  existing scientific                                                         
     literature and he cited two examples (slides 14 and 15).                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
2:23:28 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
DR.  SCHINDLER concluded  the  DEIS  is a  farce  and lacks  scientific                                                         
credibility  in  the  following aspects  (slide  16):    underestimates                                                         
risks;  assumes  tenuous  assumptions;  assumes  no  cumulative  risks;                                                         
assumes  no  effects from  climate  change; contains  an  inappropriate                                                         
timeframe;   contains    inappropriate   fish    habitat   assessments;                                                         
misrepresents published scientific results.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  RASMUSSEN  asked who  hired  Dr.  Schindler to  do  the                                                         
study.                                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
DR. SCHINDLER said  SalmonState paid for his  transportation and lunch.                                                         
He disclosed [UW's Alaska Salmon Program]  has been funded by a variety                                                         
of sources since the 1940s and is  a partner with the fishing industry.                                                         
Most  of  the  program's  funding   comes  from  the  National  Science                                                         
Foundation  through  competitive  grants   to  pursue  science  related                                                         
projects and  have not addressed  "Pebble's specific issues";  in fact,                                                         
his conclusions  are based on the  program's general studies  of salmon                                                         
habitat.  Funding has also been  received from the Bristol Bay Economic                                                         
Development  Council,  foundations,  and  the U.S.  Fish  and  Wildlife                                                         
Service, Department  of the  Interior.   He stated he  was not  paid to                                                         
produce the  assessment that  was presented.   In response  to Co-Chair                                                         
Tarr, he  clarified the program exists  to study salmon  and watersheds                                                         
under all conditions.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE HOPKINS asked whether the  program is part of the School                                                         
of Aquatic and Fishery Sciences, UW.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
DR. SCHINDLER explained  the School of Aquatic and  Fishery Sciences is                                                         
an academic unit  of UW; the program is a  research organization within                                                         
that unit.  In further response  to Representative Hopkins, he said the                                                         
leadership of the Alaska Salmon Program  is comprised of professors who                                                         
are state employees through UW.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
2:28:40 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CAMERON  WOBUS, PhD,  Senior Scientist,  Lynker, provided  a PowerPoint                                                         
presentation entitled, "Risks  and Impacts from a  Tailings Dam Failure                                                         
at the  Proposed Pebble Mine"  and informed  the committee he  has been                                                         
studying issues  related to the  Pebble mine for  about 10 years.   Dr.                                                         
Wobus directed  attention to  one issue the  DEIS "pretty  much glosses                                                         
over":  cumulative impacts if there  were a tailings dam failure at the                                                         
proposed Pebble  mine.  He  read from  an overview of  the presentation                                                         
(slide 1).                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE HANNAN  asked whether the  human lives at  risk referred                                                         
to on slide 1 are residents living in downstream communities.                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
DR. WOBUS said  yes.  He reviewed  a recent tailings dam  failure at an                                                         
iron mine in  Brazil that killed approximately 300  people, noting that                                                         
the  failed tailings  dam is  68 times  smaller than  the tailings  dam                                                         
proposed by the  Pebble project 20-year mine plan (slide  2).  In 2014,                                                         
there was a  tailings dam failure at  the Mount Polley mine  in British                                                         
Columbia, Canada;  the tailings storage  facility was 11  times smaller                                                         
than  the proposed  facility at  the Pebble  mine, and  the breach  was                                                         
reported to be a failure of design  related to the sub-glacial and pre-                                                         
glacial geological  environment associated  with the foundation  of the                                                         
facility (slide 3).                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE RASMUSSEN expressed her  understanding the design of the                                                         
proposed facility at Pebble is  quite different than the aforementioned                                                         
examples.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
2:33:16 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
DR. WOBUS  said in  the DEIS the  construction of  the tailings  dam is                                                         
proposed to  be by a centerline  construction method; the  Mount Polley                                                         
facility was constructed by a  modified centerline construction method.                                                         
Also, in the DEIS, is that the tailings dam is designed to be a flow-                                                           
through dam,  however, there are no  details on how the  tailings would                                                         
drain.   He  opined there  is  not enough  information in  the DEIS  to                                                         
determine the safety of the dam.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
2:34:14 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  RASMUSSEN, noting  the aforementioned  lack of  detail,                                                         
questioned why  Dr. Wobus is  comparing [the  failed] dams to  the dams                                                         
proposed by the Pebble project.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
DR. WOBUS  said he  was providing  examples of  tailings dam  failures;                                                         
data used  in models comes from  site specific information  provided by                                                         
the project  such as the  size of the  dam, the physical  properties of                                                         
the tailings, and the topography of the region.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  RAUSCHER inquired  as to  the similarities  between the                                                         
examples and the proposed project.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
DR. WOBUS explained  the tailings from Mount Polly drained  into a lake                                                         
- which  limited the  impact - thus  the topography  is different.   In                                                         
terms of the rheology, or the  physical properties of the tailings, the                                                         
model used  a report based upon  Pebble mine tailings and  he described                                                         
the modeling  process related to the  rheology of the tailings  and the                                                         
topography of the mine site.                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE RAUSCHER restated  his question as to  whether there are                                                         
similarities.                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
DR. WOBUS said yes.   He pointed out the report  that describes all the                                                         
details of the modeling is available.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
2:37:07 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
DR. WOBUS  further explained as described  by the current  20-year mine                                                         
plan,  there are  two tailings  storage  facilities:   a bulk  tailings                                                         
facility and a  potential acid generating tailings facility.   The bulk                                                         
tailings facility dam is approximately  545 feet high with the capacity                                                         
to hold  approximately 328,000  Olympic swimming  pools of  mine waste,                                                         
ground  rock,  and water  (slide  4).   He  read  from  slide 5,  which                                                         
contained  two sentences  from the  DEIS,  that he  characterized as  a                                                         
decision to not build the safer dam  (slide 5).  Furthermore, Dr. Wobus                                                         
opined the DEIS  is misleading because in  the supporting documentation                                                         
a tailings dam failure is assessed to be extremely low during the 20-                                                           
year operational  life  of the mine;  however, this  limitation  is not                                                         
found in  the executive  summary or in  the body of  the DEIS,  and the                                                         
tailings dam will exist for hundreds of  years (slide 6).  Slide 6 also                                                         
illustrated  a  graph   of  increasing  probability  of   failure  over                                                         
increasing periods  of time.   Dr. Wobus  raised the  issue of  a "full                                                         
mine  buildout"  after  20  years,  noting there  then  would  be  four                                                         
tailings dams;  in addition, continuing  mine operations  would prevent                                                         
potential acid generating  tailings from being placed back  in the open                                                         
pit for safety.   He said this issue arises because  the DEIS mine plan                                                         
of 20 years is likely to have a negative net present value (slide 7).                                                           
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE HOPKINS inquired as to  the structural integrity of mine                                                         
facilities.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
DR. WOBUS said tailings dams can  be designed for known current climate                                                         
conditions such  as an  extreme rainfall  event; however,  with climate                                                         
change, there  could be  unforeseen climate events,  and the  DEIS does                                                         
not reflect the risk of climate change.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE HOPKINS asked  how long the proposed dam  is designed to                                                         
last.                                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
2:43:02 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
DR. WOBUS  advised the DEIS  does not include a  dam design, but  has a                                                         
conceptual design, which describes a  dam that water will drain through                                                         
- without details -  thus he could not answer.   Dr. Wobus informed the                                                         
committee the National Environmental Policy  Act of 1969 (NEPA) process                                                         
requires  an agency  to  review the  direct,  indirect, and  cumulative                                                         
impacts of  a proposed project,  including low probability  events that                                                         
would have a  high consequence.  He explained in detail  slide 8, which                                                         
was a  scatterplot of 28 tailings  dam failures, and which  reached the                                                         
conclusion that, on  average, between 30 percent and 45  percent of the                                                         
tailings  are  released  in  the  event  of  a  tailings  dam  failure.                                                         
Further, the  graph of tailings  dam volume  indicated a breach  of the                                                         
north  tailings facility  at  Pebble would  release  340 million  cubic                                                         
meters; however, the  DEIS described a tailings dam  failure release of                                                         
a volume approximately 10,000 times less.  He remarked:                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
     So,  in  my  opinion,  the  draft EIS  does  not  look  at  a                                                              
     tailings  dam failure,  it looks  at a  pipeline rupture  and                                                              
     that  pipeline rupture, the  scenario that's been  developed,                                                              
     is  assumed  to be  an earthquake  that  is large  enough  to                                                              
     rupture  a pipeline, but somehow  keeps the dam intact.   ...                                                              
     And  in that  scenario, it's still  operational, and  they're                                                              
     able  to turn that pipeline off in six hours, so we have  six                                                              
     hours  of tailings coming out of a pipeline, not 342  million                                                              
     cubic  meters  of  material  coming out  of  a  tailings  dam                                                              
     breach.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  RASMUSSEN  observed  Dr.  Wobus  said  the  DEIS  lacks                                                         
information,  therefore,  she questioned  upon  what  this every  exact                                                         
presentation is based.                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
DR. WOBUS  acknowledged the dam  design is  unknown related to  how the                                                         
water will drain  and the construction of the dam.   However, the study                                                         
has compiled available data from  previous tailings dam failures, thus,                                                         
using the known  data on the size  and volume of the  proposed tailings                                                         
dam, the report  can estimate the volume  of a release.   He offered to                                                         
provide the report.   Dr. Wobus continued to slide 9,  which was a view                                                         
of  the   Bristol  Bay  watershed,   noting  one  study   area  covered                                                         
approximately  50 river  miles downstream  of the  tailings impoundment                                                         
and an extended model covered 85 miles downstream.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
A video was shown from 2:49:19 p.m. to 2:49:49 p.m.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
DR. WOBUS  urged the committee to  review news reports of  the tailings                                                         
dam failure at the Brumadinho dam in Brazil.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR TARR surmised [the video simulation]  is of a breach releasing                                                         
for 24 hours prior to containment.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
DR.  WOBUS  said  indications  from  previous  failures  are  that  the                                                         
releases happen quickly, and all the  material would be released within                                                         
24 hours.  His study included  sensitivity analysis on various factors;                                                         
slide 11 illustrated  sensitivity of the impacts relative  to the total                                                         
volumes of  material released,  showing a  breach of  10 percent  to 60                                                         
percent would spread tailings across  the valley bottom, into channels,                                                         
and onto the landscape.                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE HOPKINS asked  if the modeled tailings  release is based                                                         
on the DEIS project and not on the potential full buildout.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
DR. WOBUS  said yes,  the model is  based on a  release from  the north                                                         
bulk  tailings  storage facility.    He  returned  to slide  12,  which                                                         
illustrated the tailings  flow, most likely all the way  to Bristol Bay                                                         
through  the  Nushagak   River  system.    Slide  13   was  an  overlay                                                         
illustrating that the tailings would  directly impact approximately 219                                                         
miles of anadromous waters.  Slide  14 illustrated tailings flow impact                                                         
to salmon habitat waters; slide 15  illustrated tailings flow impact to                                                         
Native allotments of  land and suggested there is a  risk to human life                                                         
not addressed by the  DEIS.  Slide 16 was a quote  from the DEIS; slide                                                         
17 provided a link to the full report.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
2:56:15 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
RICK HALFORD, Consultant, Bristol Bay  Coalition, advised the committee                                                         
the Pebble  project should  not be  located in  "a fisheries  place" of                                                         
alternative  resources.   He  informed the  committee  of his  previous                                                         
involvement in support of mining  interests and economic development in                                                         
rural Alaska;  therefore, his opposition  to the Pebble project  is not                                                         
based  on opposition  to mining  copper  or other  minerals.   However,                                                         
areas suitable  for mining  copper are  not incredible  watersheds with                                                         
high sulfur content.  Mr. Halford  recalled previous testimony when two                                                         
large and  reputable [mining] companies  invested over $100  million on                                                         
environmental  baseline data.    He referred  to information  presented                                                         
from 2012  to 2014, that  indicated a very  large deposit, and  he read                                                         
from a document from 2011, that  listed the environmental overview; the                                                         
NEPA process; the  draft project description; the  permit applications;                                                         
federal, state and  agency reviews; 67 major  permits; public comments;                                                         
final EIS [document not provided].   He pointed out the developers were                                                         
going to apply for applications on  an expansive project; however, [the                                                         
current]  proposal  does  not include  certain  aspects  [document  not                                                         
provided].    Mr.  Halford  provided a  slide  entitled,  "The  Mineral                                                         
Resource," and  stressed there is a  huge deposit one  mile underground                                                         
in a saddle  between the two watersheds of the  greatest salmon fishery                                                         
left on the  Earth.  In fact,  the deposit starts 1,000  feet above sea                                                         
level  and  continues  down  to over  4,000  feet  [below  sea  level].                                                         
However, the  proposed project  now is a  small mine;  furthermore, the                                                         
EIS process  is "very  flexible" in that  after filing,  the developers                                                         
increased the  size of the  first phase  by 25 percent.   Subsequently,                                                         
after criticism,  the closure documents  were changed so that  the open                                                         
pit will be filled with the  acid generating tailings and covered over.                                                         
He characterized the proposal as a flexible fantasy.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
3:03:31 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR. HALFORD referred to an "executive  summary" from Anglo American and                                                         
said promises  made by the proposed  mine are impossible  [document not                                                         
provided].  He  read, "the Pebble deposit area  straddles the watershed                                                         
boundary between the South Fork of  the Koktuli River and Upper Talarik                                                         
Creek," hence  the deposit is sitting  beneath both of  the watersheds.                                                         
Further, the  document refers to  the underground exchange  between the                                                         
watersheds,  and  he read,  "normally  95  percent of  the  groundwater                                                         
recharges and  discharges within the  same drainage basin,  there's one                                                         
notable exception:   between the South Fork of the  Koktuli as it heads                                                         
downstream  from the  deposit and  Upper Talarik  Creek" [document  not                                                         
provided].   Mr.  Halford advised,  from his  personal experience,  the                                                         
upwelling keeps  the [salmon]  eggs from  freezing and  is part  of the                                                         
productive system of  interconnected water.  He provided  a picture and                                                         
stressed that with a hole 1,500-1,700  feet deep at the edge of another                                                         
drainage,  surrounded by  fractured bedrock,  water will  run into  the                                                         
hole, dewatering Upper  Talarik Creek.  After  dewatering, gravity will                                                         
refill the  drainage with poisoned  water and create  [another Berkeley                                                         
Pit, former  open pit copper  mine and federal  Superfund environmental                                                         
cleanup  site].   Mr.  Halford questioned  how  USACE  could prepare  a                                                         
report with  no economic analysis,  no transportation  system analysis,                                                         
no closure,  and no  wetlands analysis.   He  pointed out  large mining                                                         
companies have  invested and lost hundreds  of millions of  dollars and                                                         
the  project is  left to  a "promotion  company" that  doesn't have  an                                                         
investor but  seeks to  permit the  project, with a  net worth  of less                                                         
than $200  million.   Mr. Halford  said the  net present  value of  the                                                         
project is  less than zero,  although the state  could be left  with an                                                         
astronomical liability.   For example, the Red Dog mine  bond has risen                                                         
to [$500  million] for  reclamation.  He  cautioned the  legislature is                                                         
listening to a company "on political  life support," seeking to build a                                                         
project  that  is  an  uneconomic  liability.    He  provided  a  slide                                                         
entitled,  "Bristol Bay  Salmon Resources,"  which illustrated  the two                                                         
biggest drainages of  the Bristol Bay system.  He  provided an untitled                                                         
photograph of Berkeley Pit.  He  provided two untitled photographs of a                                                         
Pebble  mine site  that  the project  said was  not  wetlands but  that                                                         
showed a  drill rig pad  before and after the  drill rig sank  into the                                                         
wetlands.    He said  this  is  example of  why  70-80  percent of  the                                                         
residents of Bristol Bay are concerned.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
3:10:45 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR.  HALFORD concluded  there are  good  mines and  nothing wrong  with                                                         
copper unless  powdered and  mixed with sulfur  as proposed.   Further,                                                         
the foregoing is  not an anti-copper, or  anti-economics discussion; in                                                         
fact, BBEDC seeks to encourage the  growth of the fishing industry.  He                                                         
stressed in this region, fish are life,  heart, and food, and should be                                                         
protected.  He  restated the proposal is really an  11 billion ton mine                                                         
that has been advertised to investors [but] concealed from regulators.                                                          
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE SPOHNHOLZ asked for the location of the Berkeley Pit.                                                            
                                                                                                                                
MR. HALFORD said the Berkeley Pit is in Montana and requires perpetual                                                          
remediation.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
3:12:10 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
ADJOURNMENT                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
There being no further business before the committee, the House                                                                 
Resources Standing Committee meeting was adjourned at 3:12 p.m.                                                                 

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
HJR 10 Sponsor Statement.pdf HENE 3/14/2019 10:15:00 AM
HRES 3/29/2019 1:00:00 PM
HRES 4/1/2019 1:00:00 PM
SCRA 5/7/2019 3:30:00 PM
HJR 10
HJR 10 Version U.pdf HRES 3/29/2019 1:00:00 PM
HRES 4/1/2019 1:00:00 PM
HJR 10
HJR 10 Fiscal Note.pdf HRES 3/29/2019 1:00:00 PM
HRES 4/1/2019 1:00:00 PM
SCRA 5/7/2019 3:30:00 PM
HJR 10
HJR 10 Supporting doc Alaska Intertie Project Presentation Duhamel.pdf HRES 3/29/2019 1:00:00 PM
HRES 4/1/2019 1:00:00 PM
HJR 10
HJR 10 Presentation Jason Hoke RBIT.pdf HRES 3/29/2019 1:00:00 PM
HRES 4/1/2019 1:00:00 PM
HJR 10
HJR 10 Supporting Document Support List.pdf HRES 3/29/2019 1:00:00 PM
HRES 4/1/2019 1:00:00 PM
SCRA 5/7/2019 3:30:00 PM
HJR 10
HJR10 Supporting Document - 2019 Support Exploration of Road Belt Electrical Line 3.28.19.pdf HRES 3/29/2019 1:00:00 PM
HRES 4/1/2019 1:00:00 PM
SCRA 5/7/2019 3:30:00 PM
HJR 10
HJR 10 Supporting Documents Tanana Chiefs Conference.pdf HENE 3/14/2019 10:15:00 AM
HRES 3/29/2019 1:00:00 PM
HRES 4/1/2019 1:00:00 PM
SCRA 5/7/2019 3:30:00 PM
HJR 10
HJR 10 Supporting Documents Northway Traditional Council.pdf HENE 3/14/2019 10:15:00 AM
HRES 3/29/2019 1:00:00 PM
HRES 4/1/2019 1:00:00 PM
SCRA 5/7/2019 3:30:00 PM
HJR 10
HJR 10 Supporting Documents Map 2 .pdf HENE 3/14/2019 10:15:00 AM
HRES 3/29/2019 1:00:00 PM
HRES 4/1/2019 1:00:00 PM
SCRA 5/7/2019 3:30:00 PM
HJR 10
HJR 10 Supporting Documents Golden Valley Electrical Association .pdf HENE 3/14/2019 10:15:00 AM
HRES 3/29/2019 1:00:00 PM
HRES 4/1/2019 1:00:00 PM
SCRA 5/7/2019 3:30:00 PM
HJR 10
HJR 10 Supporting Documents Copper Valley Electrical Association Resolution.pdf HENE 3/14/2019 10:15:00 AM
HRES 3/29/2019 1:00:00 PM
HRES 4/1/2019 1:00:00 PM
SCRA 5/7/2019 3:30:00 PM
HJR 10
HJR 10 Supporting Documents Copper Valley Devlopment Association.pdf HENE 3/14/2019 10:15:00 AM
HRES 3/29/2019 1:00:00 PM
HRES 4/1/2019 1:00:00 PM
SCRA 5/7/2019 3:30:00 PM
HJR 10
HJR 10 Supporting Documents Copper Valley Chamber of Commerce.pdf HENE 3/14/2019 10:15:00 AM
HRES 3/29/2019 1:00:00 PM
HRES 4/1/2019 1:00:00 PM
SCRA 5/7/2019 3:30:00 PM
HJR 10
HJR 10 Supporting Documents Chitna Electric Inc.pdf HENE 3/14/2019 10:15:00 AM
HRES 4/1/2019 1:00:00 PM
SCRA 5/7/2019 3:30:00 PM
HJR 10
HJR 10 Supporting Documents Chickaloon Village Tradition Council.pdf HENE 3/14/2019 10:15:00 AM
HRES 3/29/2019 1:00:00 PM
HRES 4/1/2019 1:00:00 PM
SCRA 5/7/2019 3:30:00 PM
HJR 10
HJR 10 Supporting Documents Alaska Federation of Natives.docx.pdf HENE 3/14/2019 10:15:00 AM
HRES 3/29/2019 1:00:00 PM
HRES 4/1/2019 1:00:00 PM
SCRA 5/7/2019 3:30:00 PM
HJR 10
2019-03-07 - Alaska Power Association Support for HJR10.pdf HENE 3/14/2019 10:15:00 AM
HRES 4/1/2019 1:00:00 PM
SCRA 5/7/2019 3:30:00 PM
HJR 10
HJR 10 Amendment U.1.pdf HRES 4/1/2019 1:00:00 PM
HJR 10
HRES Schindler testimony Pebble April 1 2019.pdf HRES 4/1/2019 1:00:00 PM
Pebble
HRES Wobus Presentation Pebble April 1, 2019.pdf HRES 4/1/2019 1:00:00 PM
Pebble
HRES Halford Presentation Pebble April 1, 2019.pdf HRES 4/1/2019 1:00:00 PM
Pebble
HJR10 Supporting Document - Letter of Support Greater Fairbanks Chamber of Commerce 3.28.19.pdf HRES 4/1/2019 1:00:00 PM
HJR 10