Aqqaluk Project NEPA Process

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On May 4, 2007, Teck Cominco Alaska Incorporated (TCAK) requested a modification to National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit AK-003865-2 to include the development of the Aqqaluk Project. The Aqqaluk deposit is located adjacent to the existing main deposit.

Modifying the NPDES permit to include development of the Aqqaluk deposit triggered a National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) review, with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as the lead agency.  The U.S. Army Corp of Engineers (COE), State of Alaska, National Park Service (NPS), and nine tribal governments represented by the Maniilaq Association (the Native Village of Buckland, the Native Village of Kiana, the Native Village of Kivalina, the Native Village of Kobuk, the Native Village of Kotzebue, the Native Village of Noatak, the Noorvik Native Community, the Native Village of Selawik, and the Native Village of Shungnak) will participate closely as cooperating agencies. A Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (SEIS) must be completed, to update the environmental impact statement developed in 1984 when the first NPDES permit was issued for discharges from the mine.

Scoping is the first step in the NEPA public process. The scoping process began when EPA published the Notice of Intent (NOI) to prepare an SEIS in the Federal Register on August 31, 2007.   Information related to this process, including the scoping document for public and agency review and comment, can be downloaded at:  http://www.reddogseis.com/

EPA will host four Aqqaluk Project scoping open houses/public meetings. The times and locations of the open houses/public meetings are as follows:

Anchorage October 2, 2007
Kotzebue October 3, 2007
Noatak October 4, 2007
Kivalina October 5, 2007

Each scoping meeting will include an informal open house held from 3:30 to 5:30 PM.  This will be followed by a public meeting from 6:30 to 9:00 PM that will include a presentation of the project by EPA and the cooperating agencies and formal public testimony.

The scoping comment period will end on October 15, 2007. EPA will then review all comments, identify the issues, and distribute a final scoping document along with a scoping responsiveness summary to the public and to the State and Federal agencies and Tribal governments by the end of November 2007. The scoping responsiveness summary will summarize comments received during the scoping period and describe how EPA intends to respond to them during the SEIS process.

Following the scoping process and identification of issues, the third party contractor, Tetra Tech, Inc., will prepare an SEIS under EPA’s direction. The public is welcome to participate throughout the SEIS process, and there are specific points at which public input is specifically sought. These are listed below, along with their tentative dates, though schedule changes will likely occur.

Public participation process:
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Distribution of Draft SEIS for public/agency review  Summer 2008
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Draft SEIS open houses and public hearings Summer 2008
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Close of public/agency Draft SEIS review period Late Summer 2008
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Distribution of Final SEIS December 2008
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EPA Record of Decision and NPDES permit decision  Open


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