The parent company for the Pebble Project got a big bump in its stock price on Thursday, after a letter from regulators noted that the schedule for the permit was being met and that issues were being satisfactorily resolved.
The 25 percent increase in stock value for Northern Dynasty occurred after a Thursday, May 28 letter was released from Chris Hladick, Region 10 administrator for the Environmental Protection Agency.
The letter was addressed to Colonel David Hibner, Alaska District Engineer for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Hladick noted that the working relationship between the EPA and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers had been productive: “The Corps has demonstrated its commitment to the spirit of the dispute resolution process pursuant to the 1992 Memorandum of Agreement between EPA and the Department of the Army regarding CWA Section 404(q) by the extensive engagement with the EPA over the recent months. The EPA appreciates the Corps’ recent commitment to continue this coordination into the future, outside of the formal dispute resolution process outlined in the MOA,” Hladick wrote.
While to most observers it was merely a cordial letter from one bureaucrats to another, to mining advocates it was a signal that the two agencies had not hit any impasses, and that the environmental impact statement could be on track for release this summer since everything was currently on track, according to the calendar of tasks that needed to be completed.
The Pebble Project is perhaps the most controversial development project in Alaska history, as it is in what environmentalists say are headwaters for the rich Bristol Bay salmon fishery. The project was blocked for years by lawsuits from environmentalists and by the EPA itself, which at one point slapped a preemptive denial of a permit on the company, not allowing it to even apply for a necessary permit.