EPA Reverses Course on Pebble Mine

Bristol Bay is home to the world’s last great wild salmon run.
Photo by Pat Clayton, Fish Eye Guy Photography

In a move that surprised almost everyone involved in the fight against Pebble Mine, the EPA announced on Friday that it would NOT withdraw the Clean Water Act Section 404(c) Proposed Determination that would make it much more difficult for Pebble Mine to operate at the headwaters of Bristol Bay. This was a reversal of the Agency’s previous stance on May of last year, when it announced that it was initiating the process to withdraw the Proposed Determination.

While this is certainly a victory for those who seek to stop the mine, it is by no means the end of this saga. According to the press release put out by the EPA on Friday,

This decision neither deters nor derails the application process of Pebble Limited Partnership’s proposed project. The project proponents continue to enjoy the protection of due process and the right to proceed. However, their permit application must clear a high bar, because EPA believes the risk to Bristol Bay may be unacceptable.

The responses from many of the leading voices against Pebble Mine are collected in a release from Trout Unlimited. For instance, Brian Kraft, owner of Alaska Sportsman’s Lodge, stated:

This is an encouraging step for many Alaskan businesses and families that depend on Bristol Bay salmon. The EPA made the right decision by listening to local people, dozens of Alaskan business owners, and sportsmen and women around the country. I am thankful the EPA has ensured that widely-supported restrictions on large-scale mining in Bristol Bay will remain an option to protect our fishery. Alaskans have known for years that the Pebble mine does not belong in Bristol Bay – it’s too big of a risk to our jobs, businesses, and a sport fishing paradise. It is reassuring to see the EPA acknowledge the uniqueness of this region, and the risks Pebble mine poses.

Click here for the EPA page explaining the latest decision.

Click here for the Trout Unlimited statement.

3 thoughts on “EPA Reverses Course on Pebble Mine”

  1. We haven’t been getting much environmental good news from the Administration so let’s celebrate this one and make them feel loved for this one!

  2. This sounds like a great improvement for our environment!
    I wish more of our state policies were as positive for the ecology and environment, but looks like that news like these will remain a special info for a long time…

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