The proposed Donlin Gold mining project just wrapped up gathering comments from all over the Y-K delta. The Army Corps of Engineers headed the scoping process by going to the sub-regions and holding public hearings including in Holy Cross, McGrath, and Anchorage, hearing about the hopes and concerns of residents who could be impacted by the project. In the first of a two part series, Sophie Evan looks at the details of the scoping process.
The Army Corps of Engineers held fourteen (14) Environmental Impact Statement, or EIS, scoping meetings from January through March. Project manager Don Kuhle says the area affected by the proposed Donlin project is rich in cultural traditions with a strong participation in subsistence.
“ all together some 66 tribes and communities could be affected by the Donlin Gold project,” says Kuhle.
New roads and a gas pipeline will have to be built from Cook Inlet to the Kuskokwim first before the proposed Donlin project could even begin.
“the proposed mine would require all new infrastructure including roads and a pipeline, and all this will be subject to permitting before the project can begin,” says Kuhle.
The draft EIS will be out for public comment and review by August of 2014. Kuhle says, “everyone will then be able to see how their comments from the scoping period were addressed in the draft.”
The public will then have until November 2014 to review the draft, when another round of public meetings will be held. Taylor Brelsford is the Senior Environmental Scientist with the URS Corporation.
“we’re trying to understand exactly what the people are saying so that this EIS can answer some of these really important questions from the people,” says Brelsford.
Kuhle says the final EIS will be out by October of 2015, and that permits will or will not be issued by November 2015. A newsletter will be mailed out in June, and the scoping report will be on their website in July. Kuhle added that tribes could still request a government-to-government consultation.
This is the first in our two part series on the Donlin Gold EIS scoping process that the Army Corps of Engineers is leading. Tomorrow we will hear the second part: a summary of the over two thousand comments that were submitted.
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