Today, the EPA has taken steps to erase their draft protections, called the Proposed Determination, for Bristol Bay that over 1.5 million Americans supported.
For more than a decade, the threat of North America’s largest copper and gold mine has loomed over the headwaters of Bristol Bay, Alaska. This project would directly impact the world’s largest and greatest sockeye salmon run, putting in jeopardy 14,000 fishing jobs, a 10,000 year cultural tradition of subsistence, and a huge sport fishing and tourism economy.
All told, the proposed Pebble Mine would threaten an existing long-term sustainable economy valued at more than $1.5 billion annually, for a short-term mine. The EPA has the power to ensure restrictions are in place that will not threaten the fishery. Under Section 404 of the Clean Water Act, the EPA has the authority to restrict or deny a permit that will have adverse affects on a fishery.
Unfortunately, there has been a change of hands at the EPA, and the protections we requested are at risk. It’s time to preserve the requests we’ve made and tell the EPA we STILL support strong protections for Bristol Bay.
We need to tell the EPA that restricting any large-scale mining in Bristol Bay that would harm salmon is a justified and supported step. When the public reviewed their Proposed Determination and weighed in in 2014, the agency received overwhelming support. It's time to show this support again.