Two days ago, we asked you to send an email to the Environmental Protection Agency, asking that the agency use its authority to protect Bristol Bay from the dangers proposed by Pebble Mine. Today, the EPA announced today that it is invoking its authority under the Clean Water Act to determine whether it should permanently bar the development of Pebble Mine. This action represents a major victory for native Alaskans, commercial fisheries, sportsmen, and conservationists who have petitioned the agency for the past four years to use its authority to block harmful mining development.
“Extensive scientific study has given us ample reason to believe that the Pebble Mine would likely have significant and irreversible negative impacts on the Bristol Bay watershed and its abundant salmon fisheries,” said EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy in a statement. “It’s why EPA is taking this step forward in our effort to ensure protection for the world’s most productive salmon fishery from the risks it faces from what could be one of the largest open pit mines on earth. This process is not something the agency does very often, but Bristol Bay is an extraordinary and unique resource.”
In fact, the EPA has invoked its 404(c) authority only 13 times before. The best-case scenario would see the agency barring the Army Corps of Engineers from issuing the discharge permit for the mine.
Orvis is proud of its customers’ support of the 2013 Stop Pebble Mine Customer Matching Grant, which exceeded its goal by nearly 50%. While today’s announcement is a major turning point in the campaign, until the EPA issues its final 404c determination, the battle isn’t over. As part of the coalition formed to protect Bristol Bay, we plan to remain engaged and informed. We invite you to do so, as well.