The Latest: EPA released a final assessment of Pebble Mine impacts

  • Spawning salmon in Alaska's Bristol Bay watershed.

    CC via Flickr user Todd Radenbaugh

The proposed Pebble Mine in Alaska's Bristol Bay region could yield $300 billion in copper, gold and molybdenum, but also harm the world's largest sockeye salmon runs, a vibrant fishing industry and some of North America's last salmon-based cultures ("Worst place for a major mine?" HCN, 11/25/13). In 2010, nine Native tribes asked the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to invoke the Clean Water Act to block it, but the agency said it first needed to study the mine's potential impact on watershed health.

After more than a million public comments, the EPA issued its final assessment on Jan. 15. Environmental groups, commercial fishermen and tribal corporations praised its conclusion: that the mine "poses risks" to salmon because it would destroy up to 94 miles of streams and 5,350 acres of wetlands. Northern Dynasty, the sole mining company still involved, called the analysis "flawed." As to its potential power to halt the project, the EPA is staying mum.

Kirk Hohenberger
Kirk Hohenberger Subscriber
Feb 07, 2014 08:04 AM
Bristol bay and its watershed, needs wilderness or monument status protection, so even if the pebble mine is stopped this time, so that in a few years another mining company doesn't come along, and the fight happens all over again.
Dale Lockwood
Dale Lockwood Subscriber
Mar 22, 2014 09:10 PM
We on this earth been here for so little time,but have changed it too much.