Despite the federal shutdown, work is continuing on the Environmental Impact Statement for the proposed Pebble Mine.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is the lead agency in charge of preparing the document.
The EIS will analyze potential detrimental and beneficial effects of the Pebble Project and develop alternatives to the proposed mine plan. The finalized EIS will serve as a tool for federal agencies as they decide whether or not to permit the copper, gold and molybdenum mine in Bristol Bay.
“The development of the EIS is not affected by the federal shutdown at this time,” said USACE spokesperson John Budnik.
The Corps of Engineers is under the Department of Defense, which is funded through the end of this fiscal year.
However, Budnik also confirmed that the Army Corps now expects to release the draft EIS about a month later than earlier announced. Previously estimated for release in January 2019, the draft EIS is now expected in mid-February with publication in the Federal Register around March 1. There will be a 90-day comment period after the draft EIS is released.
During that period of public review of the document, the Army Corps says that it plans to hold public meetings.