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Northern Dynasty comments on the EPA’s draft Bristol Bay Watershed Assessment report

Northern Dynasty comments on the EPA’s draft Bristol Bay Watershed 
Assessment report 
VANCOUVER, May 22, 2012 /CNW/ - Northern Dynasty Minerals Ltd. ("Northern 
Dynasty" or the "Company") (TSX: NDM; NYSE Amex: NAK) comments on the draft 
Bristol Bay Watershed Assessment report released by the U.S. Environmental 
Protection Agency (EPA) on May 18, 2012, calling the initiative to study 
potential effects of mineral development in a vast region of southwest Alaska 
'rushed and inadequate.' 
"As Northern Dynasty and subsequently as part of the Pebble Partnership, we 
have invested nearly 10 years and hundreds of millions of dollars studying the 
natural and human environment surrounding the Pebble Project, and methodically 
advancing a development strategy that will allow us to develop the globally 
significant resources of copper, gold and molybdenum there while protecting 
fisheries, water quality and traditional ways of life," said Northern Dynasty 
President & CEO Ron Thiessen, 
"So to suggest that the EPA over a course of a single year can meaningfully 
study a region of some 20,000 square miles and assess the effects of a project 
for which a final design is not yet complete, and for which key environmental 
mitigation strategies are yet being developed, is pure hubris. We have every 
expectation that the deep flaws in the draft Bristol Bay Watershed Assessment 
report will be exposed during the scientific peer review and public comment 
processes to come over the next several months." 
Thiessen referred to the public statement on the EPA's draft Bristol Bay 
Watershed Assessment report released by the Pebble Limited Partnership (the 
"Pebble Partnership" or "PLP") Chief Executive Officer John Shively last week: 
Pebble CEO Calls EPA Process Rushed and Inadequate 
"As long‐time proponents of responsible resource development in Alaska, we 
have significant concerns regarding the EPA's approach to the Bristol Bay 
Watershed Assessment. We believe that the EPA has rushed its assessment 
process, and that this is especially problematic in light of the large size of 
the study area. We have taken several years and expended considerable 
resources to study the ecosystem in a small area around the Pebble deposit, 
while the EPA has, in only one year and with limited resources, completed a 
draft assessment in relation to an area of approximately 20,000 square miles. 
We believe that this explains why the EPA's work has not yet approached the 
level of rigor and completeness required for a scientific assessment. 
"Furthermore, we are concerned that the EPA may use this rushed process as the 
basis for an unprecedented regulatory action against the Pebble Project. We 
believe it would be unprecedented and entirely inappropriate for the EPA to 
take steps to stop our project before it has been fully designed, before we 
have presented an environmental mitigation strategy designed to protect the 
fish and water resources of the area, before we have completed an economic 
benefits study and before we have submitted a permit application and started 
the rigorous permitting process. Until we complete our work and submit an 
application under NEPA, the EPA's work as it relates to our project is based 
entirely on speculation. 
"The Pebble deposit is located on State of Alaska lands that are open to 
mineral exploration and development. As such, the State has expressed strong 
objection about the entire process the EPA is undertaking in this area. At 
Statehood, the federal government granted Alaska access to lands in order to 
develop an economy for the new state. Federal intrusions such as those 
facilitated by the EPA's watershed assessment initiative clearly strike at the 
heart of the agreement between the state and the federal government, and could 
have a chilling effect on future resource development investments in Alaska. 
"Further, this entire process is particularly disappointing because it seems 
to directly conflict with the stated goals of President Obama, who has said 
that U.S. government agencies need to simplify and streamline permitting and 
regulatory processes to help the economy and create jobs. This is an example 
of the Environmental Protection Agency doing exactly the opposite by adding 
new hurdles to the rigorous and established regulatory process. 
"It is worth noting that PLP has spent several years and expended significant 
resources studying a substantially smaller land area surrounding Pebble, while 
the EPA's limited time frame allocated to studying natural resources in this 
vast area comes nowhere near providing the science needed to adequately 
conduct their assessment. We certainly don't question the appropriate 
statutory role of the EPA in evaluating projects like the Pebble Project. In 
fact, we voluntarily provided over 20,000 pages of detailed environmental 
studies to the EPA to assist their understanding of this complex ecosystem and 
we are convinced the agency did not utilize the information in a meaningful 
way due to the artificial short time frame they have used to reach a 
conclusion. We do take strong exception to this misguided effort that steps 
outside of the well‐established regulatory process to rush through this 
watershed assessment to potentially reach pre‐ordained conclusions. 
"Additionally, the draft watershed assessment is fundamentally flawed for the 
following reasons: 


    --  the EPA has undertaken to study in one year a nearly 20,000
        square mile area in Southwest Alaska ‐ about the size of
        the states of Maryland and New Jersey combined - that would
        need several years of diligent effort to achieve its stated
        goals;
    --  the EPA has attempted to assess the effects of a project that
        has not yet been finalized or undergone the rigorous permitting
        process required by State and federal law;
    --  the EPA has prepared and distributed a report that does not
        live up to the agency's own standards for undertaking watershed
        assessments, as reflected in EPA guidance and assessment
        activities in other U.S. jurisdictions. Specifically, the draft
        report: relies on a hypothetical mining project with
        hypothetical environmental impacts; estimates impacts resulting
        from only one stressor source (i.e. mining), notwithstanding
        Region 10 policy to address environmental risks "in a
        comprehensive, holistic fashion" reflects an unprecedented
        narrow focus on a single mining project and single policy
        option; and improperly adds economic analysis, and then in a
        biased fashion.

"Many statewide business and trade associations as well as Alaska Native 
tribes and village corporations have expressed similar concerns and objections 
about the EPA's actions and have asked the EPA to stop its work until a formal 
permit application is in front of the agency. The investment uncertainties 
created by the EPA's short‐sighted actions have the potential to inhibit 
development projects not only throughout Alaska, but nationwide."

About the Pebble Project

The Pebble Project is an initiative of the Pebble Partnership to responsibly 
develop a globally significant copper, gold and molybdenum deposit in 
southwest Alaska into a modern, long-life mine. The project is located 200 
miles southwest of Anchorage on state land designated through two public land 
use planning exercises for mineral exploration and development. It is situated 
approximately 1,000 feet above sea-level, 65 miles from tidewater on Cook 
Inlet and presents favourable conditions for successful mine site and 
infrastructure development.

The Pebble Project consists of the Pebble deposit, surrounding mineral claims 
and a stream of financing being provided by Northern Dynasty's project partner 
Anglo American US (Pebble) LLC. The Pebble Partnership was established in July 
2007 as a 50:50 partnership between a wholly-owned affiliate of Northern 
Dynasty and a wholly-owned subsidiary of Anglo American plc. Both Northern 
Dynasty and Anglo American have equal ownership and direction of the Pebble 
Partnership.

Under the terms of the Pebble Limited Partnership Agreement, Anglo American is 
required to elect to commit $1.5 billion in staged investments in order to 
retain its 50% interest in the Pebble Project. Funds provided by Anglo 
American are currently being invested in comprehensive exploration, 
engineering, environmental and socioeconomic programs toward the future 
development of the Pebble Project.

About Northern Dynasty

Northern Dynasty Minerals Ltd. is a mineral exploration and development 
company based in Vancouver, Canada, which holds indirect interests in 650 
square miles of mineral claims in southwest Alaska, USA. Northern Dynasty's 
principal asset is a 50% interest in the Pebble Partnership, owner of the 
Pebble Copper-Gold-Molybdenum Project. The Pebble Project is an advanced-stage 
initiative to develop one of the most important mineral resources in the world.

Review Canadian public filings at www.sedar.com and US public filings at 
www.sec.gov.

Ronald W. Thiessen
President & CEO

Sole Responsibility

No regulatory authority accepts responsibility for the adequacy or accuracy of 
this release. Northern Dynasty is solely and entirely responsible for the 
contents of this news release. No other party, including any parties which 
have an interest in the project, are in any way responsible for the contents 
hereof.

Forward Looking Information and other Cautionary Factors

This release includes certain statements that may be deemed "forward-looking 
statements". All statements in this release, other than statements of 
historical facts, especially those that address estimated resource quantities, 
grades and contained metals, are forward-looking statements because they are 
generally made on the basis of estimation and extrapolation from a limited 
number of drill holes and metallurgical studies. Although diamond drill hole 
core provides valuable information about the size, shape and geology of an 
exploration project, there will always remain a significant degree of 
uncertainty in connection with these valuation factors until a deposit has 
been extensively drilled on closely spaced centers, which has occurred only in 
specific areas on the Pebble Project. Although the Company believes the 
expectations expressed in its forward-looking statements are based on 
reasonable assumptions, such statements should not be in any way construed as 
guarantees of the ultimate size, quality or commercial feasibility of the 
Pebble Project or of the Company's future performance. The likelihood of 
future mining at the Pebble Project is subject to a large number of risks and 
will require achievement of a number of technical, economic and legal 
objectives, including obtaining necessary mining and construction permits, 
completion of pre-feasibility and final feasibility studies, preparation of 
all necessary engineering for underground workings and processing facilities 
as well as receipt of significant additional financing to fund these 
objectives as well as funding mine construction. Such funding may not be 
available to the Company on acceptable terms or on any terms at all. There is 
no known ore at the Pebble Project and there is no assurance that the 
mineralization at the Pebble Project will ever be classified as ore. The need 
for compliance with extensive environmental and socio-economic rules and 
practices and the requirement for the Company to obtain government permitting 
can cause a delay or even abandonment of a mineral project. The Company is 
also subject to the specific risks inherent in the mining business as well as 
general economic and business conditions. For more information on the Company, 
Investors should review the Company's annual Form 40-F filing with the United 
States Securities and Exchange Commission and its home jurisdiction filings 
that are available at www.sedar.com.

For further details on Northern Dynasty please visit the Company's  website 
atwww.northerndynasty.com or contact Investor services at (604) 684-6365 or 
within North America  at 1-800-667-2114.

To view this news release in HTML formatting, please use the following URL: 
http://www.newswire.ca/en/releases/archive/May2012/22/c9436.html

CO: Northern Dynasty Minerals Ltd.
ST: British Columbia
NI: MNG 

-0- May/22/2012 12:45 GMT