It’s been more than ten years since the spectre of the proposed Pebble Mine reared its ugly head, but the fight to prevent the destruction of prime sockeye-salmon spawning habitat in Alaska’s Bristol Bay continues to be waged—mostly in government offices. As the issue has fallen off the front pages and perhaps out of anglers’ minds, it’s important to remember that the project is not yet dead. Like Michael Meyers or Jason Voorhees, the damn thing is proving difficult to kill. However, we can now add one more to the long list of defeats for the Pebble Partnership has suffered in recent years:
The Environmental Protection Agency’s independent inspector general has found no evidence of bias or predetermination in the agency’s effort to review the potential impacts of the proposed Pebble mine on the Bristol Bay watershed, according to a new report out Wednesday. . . .
The report marks a major step in a years-long fight over the potential mine that has been subject to calls of federal overreach by the company hoping to mine the massive deposits of gold and copper in Southwest Alaska. The inspector general reviewed EPA’s actions from over a year: May 2014 to October 2015, including an assessment of more than 8,000 emails involving EPA officials, the report said.
The inquiry had been launched after many requests by the Pebble Partnership and members of Congress.
Although this new finding is great news, don’t think for a minute that the battle is won. Ongoing litigation continues to challenge the EPA’s proposed decision to restrict mining activities in parts of Bristol Bay.