Additional science justifies action in Bristol Bay

By Shoren Brown

Today marked the long awaited release of the written summary of the peer review panel that took place in Anchorage back in August. To refresh your memory – this is an independent review of EPA’s science work and threat assessment of the Pebble mine.

Despite the fact that the Pebble partnership has continually tried to cast the EPA in a negative light, the document EPA released today continues the existing trend of the EPA’s work on Pebble mine – with a transparent process and good science.  That is why sportsmen, commercial fishermen and Alaska Native groups and corporations continue to support the work that EPA is conducting to figure out what long-term impacts would result from digging one of the largest open pit mines on the planet.

Here are a few choice quotes from the Peer Review document:

“…Make no mistake, we cannot have both mining and productive salmon stocks in the Bristol Bay watershed...”

“There is no question that a mine, especially of the type and magnitude analyzed in the Assessment, could have significant impacts and that if these impacts are not or cannot be properly managed and/or mitigated, the consequences could be profound.”

“The potential risks and impacts are fairly and succinctly stated. Given the extremely long-term nature of the projected Pebble project, and the irreversible changes which would be imposed to the region, the risks seem, if anything, understated."

Try as Pebble might to spin this into a science controversy, the bottom line is this: the facts and the science are clear and no one has called EPA’s findings into question. In fact, EPA has done due diligence and at the request of these independent scientists, has provided even more information.

From the sound of it – we will be hearing more from EPA in the comings months.  For now – all you Bristol Bay faithful out there – please keep up the pressure on the President to protect Bristol Bay. 

Shoren Brown is the Bristol Bay campaign director for Trout Unlimited.