ANCHORAGE, Alaska, April 6 (UPI) -- A former federal fisheries biologist is raising concerns about Alaska's oversight of mineral exploration at the copper and gold Pebble prospect.
Carol Ann Woody, a consultant for the Renewable Resources Coalition, said drill rigs might be drawing up water that could harm developing salmon and put heavy metals into the groundwater, the Anchorage Daily News reported Sunday.
State regulators say the drilling permit was issued to the Pebble Partnership after considering the affect on fish and the groundwater, the newspaper said.
Regulators said companies exploring Pebble are authorized to withdraw no more than 130,000 gallons of water per day from kettle ponds and a few stream segments in the Upper Talarik Creek drainage.
In a letter to the Alaska Department of Natural Resources and other state officials, Woody said she is worried that regulators are not monitoring the project closely enough.
State officials said they would respond to Woody's letter soon.
"There's no lack of desire by the state to be transparent about the details," said Tom Crafford, the DNR's large mine permit coordinator.