Wednesday Wake-Up Call: 01.10.24

Welcome to the latest installment of the Wednesday Wake-Up Call, a roundup of the most pressing conservation issues important to anglers. Working with our friends at Trout UnlimitedBackcountry Hunters & Anglers, the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation PartnershipThe Everglades FoundationCaptains for Clean WaterVoteWater.orgBonefish & Tarpon Trust, and Conservation Hawks (among others), we’ll make sure you’ve got the information you need to understand the issues and form solid opinions.

U.S. Supreme Court Denies Alaska Governor’s Bid to Revive Pebble Mine

Almost exactly a year ago, on January 31, 2022, the the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) effectively killed the Pebble Mine project by issuing a final determination under the Clean Water Act 404(c) that prohibits mine waste from being disposed of in the rivers and wetlands in and near the Pebble deposit. This was a huge victory for everyone involved in the decades-long struggle to protect the fragile habitat at the center of Alaska’s Bristol Bay.

Unfortunately, like Michael Meyers in the Halloween movies, the Pebble Mine project refused to die. Despite the fact that an overwhelming majority of Alaskans support protecting Bristol Bay, Governor Mike Dunleavy and Attorney General Treg Taylor set out to reverse the EPA’s decision. Rather than following the standard course of filing suits in lower courts and working their way through the system, they launched a Hail Mary attempt by asking the Supreme Court to hear their case.

The Bristol Bay watershed is too fragile and import to risk such a huge mining project.
Photo by Pat Clayton

On Monday, SCOTUS issued a rather terse decision:

“157, ORIG. ALASKA V. UNITED STATES, ET AL. The motion for leave to file a bill of complaint is denied.”

According to Save Bristol Bay, one of the leading voices in the fight to stop Pebble, “This dismissal underscores the robustness of the legal arguments, science, and extensive public opposition for Pebble Mine,” but the organization doesn’t see this as the end of the story:

Today, we celebrate this win, while remaining vigilant against the continuous threats posed by Pebble and its allies. Their ruthless pursuit through every possible avenue only serves to strengthen our resolve.

This constant attack from mining interests is why we must all work toward permanent protections

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