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Ballot information available in Alaska Native languages

The State of Alaska Division of Elections has made audio versions of the November 4 ballot measures available in several Alaska Native languages: Central Yup'ik, Siberian Yup'ik, Inupiaq, Koyukon Athabascan and Gwich'in Athabascan. A written translation of the ballot is available in Yup'ik.

A partial judgement in a case against the State found in favor of plaintiffs who alleged that the State has not done enough in the past to provide translations of election information in advance so that voters can understand the issues appearing on the ballott.

As a result of the ruling, the State was required to advise the court of a plan for meeting those informational needs in a more substantive way.

EPA plans webinar overview of Proposed Determination

webinarThe Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has scheduled online presentations Tuesday and Wednesday, during which agency staff will provide an overview of the Proposed Determination on restrictions at the Pebble deposit area in Bristol Bay.

This event is an additional way of learning more about the document before the public input period ends  on September 19. 

Tuesday, Sept. 9, 2-3 pm AK Time

Wednesday, Sept. 10, 8-9 am AK Time

For full details, visit EPA's Bristol Bay site.

2 weeks remain in public comment period for EPA restrictions in Bristol Bay

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency says it has received roughly 130,000 public comments on the Proposed Determination it released last month. This is in addition to testimony from nearly 300 people received during recent public meetings in Alaska.

Thousands of comments are coming in through mass-media campaigns run by advocacy groups on both sides of the issue, a trend that EPA is seeing more frequently, especially with social media making it easier for groups to get the word out.

This approach is what pushed the number of comments on EPA's Bristol Bay Watershed Assessment to historic proportions, at more than 1 million.

But according to a public comment tip sheet at, many in the public mistakenly believe that their submitted form letter constitutes a "vote" regarding the issues that concern them:

"Although public support or opposition may help guide important public policies, agencies make determinations for a proposed action based on sound reasoning and scientific evidence, not a majority of votes. A single, well-supported comment may carry more weight than a thousand form letters."

The convenience of supporting a position with the click of a button likely contributes to the popularity of the mass-media campaign.

However, a message that combines convenience with an individual message – either an addition
or other changes to a form letter – brings your own perspective to the comment. This could give your message greater weight in the overall conversation.

The public input period is open until 8 p.m. Alaska Time, Friday, Sept. 19, 2014.

Check out these resources for more information:

Pebble Watch Overview of Proposed Determination

Pebble Watch Guide to Public Comments

Tips for Submitting Effective Comments

Commenting to the EPA: 11 questions

"A single, well-supported comment may carry more weight than a thousand form letters." - "Tips for Submitting Effective Comments" at

The deadline for submitting comments on the EPA's Proposed Determination for restrictions in Bristol Bay is on September 19, 2014.

There are many ways to submit your input, including online at (remember to add your name and contact information unless you want to submit anonymously).

Questions the EPA has posed to readers:

  1. Comments regarding whether the proposed determination should become the recommended determination and ultimately the final determination, and any corrective action that could be taken to reduce adverse impacts of discharges associated with mining the Pebble deposit.
  2. Additional information on the likely adverse impacts on fish and other ecological resources of the receiving waters that would be directly or indirectly affected by mining the Pebble deposit (including the South Fork Koktuli, North Fork Koktuli, and Upper Talarik Creek and downstream reaches of the Nushagak and Kvichak Rivers).
  3. Additional information on the water quality, flora, fauna, and hydrology of the waters identified in No. 2, above, and information on the fish species that would be affected by aquatic ecosystem changes if discharges from mining the Pebble deposit were to occur.
  4. Additional information about wildlife species that would be affected if discharges from mining the Pebble deposit were to occur.
  5. Additional information about recreational uses of the project area and how they would be affected if discharges from mining the Pebble deposit were to occur.
  6. Additional information about drinking water (including public water supplies and private sources of drinking water such as streams and/or wells) and how they would be affected if discharges from mining the Pebble deposit were to occur.
  7. Additional information on the potential for mitigation to be successful in reducing the impacts of mining the Pebble deposit.
  8. Comments regarding the approach used to define the potential disposal site, including how EPA Region 10 weighed the factors discussed in Section 2.2.3 and whether there are other factors or approaches EPA Region 10 should consider in defining the potential disposal site.
  9. Whether the discharge of dredged or fill material associated with mining the Pebble deposit should be completely prohibited, restricted as proposed, restricted in another manner, or not restricted at all at this time. In particular, EPA Region 10 is seeking comment on whether environmental effects associated with other mine stages or scenarios (e.g., environmental effects from mining approximately 2.0 billion tons of ore over 25 years) could provide a basis for alternative or additional restrictions.
  10. Comments on the definitions of "loss," "contiguous," and "dewatering," provided in Section 5 (p. 168).
  11. Comments on whether and how EPA Region 10’s proposed action under Section 404(c) should consider discharge of dredged or fill materials beyond those associated with the min pit, TSFs, and waste rock piles and include such discharges associated with the construction of other mine infrastructure (e.g., wastewater treatment plants, transportation corridors).

Read the Pebble Watch overview of the Proposed Determination

Read our guide to public comment for the Proposed Determination

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About Pebble Watch

Pebble Watch is an impartial, educational and fact-based initiative of the BBNC Land Department to disseminate information regarding the proposed Pebble Mine project to BBNC shareholders and interested parties. 

Produced by
the BBNC Land Department

Questions? Call