ANCHORAGE, AK - Just weeks after the U.S. EPA released comments critical of Pebble’s Draft Environmental Impact Statement, the agency today withdrew the 2014 Proposed Determination. If finalized, the Proposed Determination would have safeguarded the Bristol Bay region – the world’s greatest wild salmon ecosystem – from the proposed Pebble mine and other large-scale industrial development by placing limits on the amount of mine waste that can be disposed of in Bristol Bay’s rivers and wetlands.
ANCHORAGE, AK - Today, a memo was released by EPA General Counsel directing its Region 10 office to resume the withdrawal process for the 2014 proposed determination, which added upfront protections for the rich natural resources of the Bristol Bay region from threatening mining proposals like the Pebble Mine.
The House of Representatives took dramatic and much needed action today by passing amendment #90 to the Energy and Water Appropriations Act (H.R. 2740) bill. If passed by both chambers of Congress and signed by the President, the amendment would prohibit the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers from using funds to issue a permit for the proposed Pebble Mine.
The EPA publicly announced the reversal of protections for Bristol Bay on July 30, but EPA staff sources reported that they were informed of the decision a month earlier, the day after a meeting between the President and Governor Dunleavy in Alaska.
In the past two weeks in Bristol Bay, Alaska, I’ve watched massive brown bears stroll along the banks of the rivers I was fishing as they searched for their own meals, passively taking notice of us humans. Breathtaking.
Despite recent news that the EPA may rollback proposed protections for the region, their official comments slammed the Army Corps’ review of the proposal for failing to include critical information about how the project could affect Bristol Bay. And Senator Lisa Murkowski agreed.