PEBBLE MINE AND BRISTOL BAY

Overview of the Issue

Alaska’s Bristol Bay is one of the finest fishing destinations on Earth and the fight to protect it from the proposed Pebble Mine has been going on for years. The region is a world-class wild salmon fishery and the most important sockeye fishery anywhere.

Foreign mining company Northern Dynasty, operating as Pebble Limited Partnership, has proposed to develop a copper-gold-molybdenum porphyry deposit as a surface mine.

Despite the threat of irreparable damage to Bristol Bay, Pebble Mine permitting is being rushed through at record speed. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has a responsibility to protect Bristol Bay and the people who rely on it. They must stop Pebble Mine from receiving key permits and veto the project.

Tell the EPA to Veto Pebble Mine

Chad Tokowicz, formerly Inland Fisheries Policy manager at ASA, discusses the importance of Bristol Bay and irreparable damage that could be caused by Pebble Mine.

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What ASA is Doing

ASA has a longstanding position to protect Alaska’s Bristol Bay from mining given its ecological and economic importance. As part of a large coalition, ASA is pushing for an EPA veto of the permit, which will mark the end of the fight against Pebble Mine.

Through Keep America Fishing, supporters generated thousands of emails to key decision-makers including the President, both chambers of Congress, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Environmental Protection Agency.

Read ASA’s position statement on mining.

Finding the mine “contrary to the public interest,”on November 25, 2020, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers denied a permit for the Pebble Mine in Alaska, all but ending plans for the proposed mine project.

ASA strongly supports the Clean Water Act permit denial, as more than 2,800 acres of wetlands, 130 miles of stream, and over 130 acres of open water were at risk due to mine development and operation, let alone the potential damage to fisheries. The rejection of the Pebble Mine Project permit by the U.S. Army Corps confirms that there was too much at stake to develop the mine at the proposed location.

In September 2021, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced it would reinstate the 2014 Clean Water Act protections on Alaska’s Bristol Bay. This move came after a 2019 decision to vacate the protections. Although the reinstated EPA protections still need to be finalized, the proposed protections would limit the amount of waste water and mine waste discharge that could be released in the Bristol Bay region. In effect, these protections will stop the proposed Pebble Mine, which would harm Bristol Bay, home to the world’s largest salmon fishery. While these protections would be a huge step in the right direction, further Congressional legislation is needed to permanently protect this world class fishery.

On Friday, October 29, the U.S. District Court for the District of Alaska overturned the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) 2019 decision to withdraw the Bristol Bay 404(c) Proposed Determination, reinstating important protections for the headwaters of Bristol Bay. The Proposed Determination safeguards the Bristol Bay region and its world-class fisheries from large-scale mining operations like the proposed Pebble mine by placing reasonable limits on how much impact mining can have on salmon streams and wetlands.

What You Can Do

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For more information, contact ASA Vice President of Government Affairs Mike Leonard.