Welcome to the latest installment of the Wednesday Wake-Up Call, a weekly roundup of the most pressing conservation issues important to anglers. Working with our friends at Trout Unlimited, Backcountry Hunters & Anglers, the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership, The Everglades Foundation, Captains for Clean Water, Bullsugar.org, and Conservation Hawks (among others), we’ll make sure you’ve got the information you need to understand the issues and form solid opinions.
If you know of an important issue–whether it’s national or local–that anglers should be paying attention to, comment below, and we’ll check it out!
1. EPA Dumps 2014 Pebble Mine Protections
Back in February 2014, the Environmental Protection Agency announced that it would invoke the Clean Water Act to protect Bristol Bay from the proposed Pebble Mine project. Yesterday, the agency withdrew those protections, claiming that the 2014 Proposed Determination signed by President Obama was based on outdated information. This is a major blow to the coalition of groups, companies, and individuals that has been fighting for more than a decade to stop Pebble.
According to Nelli Williams, Alaska director of Trout Unlimited,
“This foolish decision fails on all accounts. It neglects EPA’s responsibility to protect human health and clean water, it ignores science-based criticism of Pebble’s permit review by their own scientists and other agencies, and it is out of touch with the priorities of Alaskans and sportsmen and women. It’s common sense to limit mine waste disposal in a place as important as Bristol Bay. It’s an all hands-on deck situation to safeguard this important American asset and the thousands of jobs it supports.”
2. More Legal Victories for the Clark Fork Coalition and Earthjustice
Reporting by Pippin Evarts
The missions of the Clark Fork Coalition is to preserve, heal, and protect the waters of the Clark Fork basin in western Montana. Thanks to the coalition’s incredible efforts, last April the Hecla Mining Company and its subsidiary RC Resources were denied water use permits for the Rock Creek Mine, a huge victory in the fight against mining the wilderness of Montana. And again on July 29, Hecla lost another battle when they lost the water-quality permit for their Montanore mine in the same regions. In the latest case, Clark Fork Coalition was one of eight plaintiffs represented by Earthjustice attornies.
These proposed silver-copper mines would tunnel miles under the Cabinet Mountains wilderness and utilize groundwater pumping that would result in permanently de-watering streams in the area. Should the tunnel mines come into fruition, the streams that run above them could be drained, similar to pulling the plug on a bathtub. The mines pose an extreme threat to bull-trout habitats within the streams of the Cabinet Mountain wilderness. These victories are part of a 35 year battle against drilling underneath wilderness areas.