Con­tro­ver­sial Mine Puts Alaska Sal­mon in Peril

Saltwater Sportsman - - Tod / Casts + Blasts -

One of the world’s most pro­duc­tive sal­mon fish­eries faces a re­newed threat: A pro­posed min­ing op­er­a­tion, stalled since 2014, has been granted new life by the U.S. En­vi­ron­men­tal Pro­tec­tion Agency.

Near the head­wa­ters of Bris­tol Bay, which, ac­cord­ing to a 2014 EPA re­port, pro­duces nearly half the world’s an­nual sock­eye sal­mon catch and sup­ports about 14,000 re­lated full- and part-time jobs, is where North­ern Dy­nasty, a Cana­dian com­pany, has plans to de­velop the Peb­ble Mine to ex­tract gold and cop­per.

Crit­ics of what could be­come the world’s big­gest gold and cop­per open-pit mine worry that toxic byprod­ucts will get into the wa­ter­shed (the ground holds tons of sul­phur, which turns into acid when mixed with air and wa­ter), de­stroy­ing one of the last great sal­mon runs left on the planet, and with it much of south­west Alaska’s wildlife, the thriv­ing com­mer­cial and re­cre­ational fish­ing, and the tourism. The de­vel­op­ers of Peb­ble Mine in­sist they can pull the gold and cop­per out safely, but fish­er­men, con­ser­va­tion­ists, bi­ol­o­gists and most na­tive tribes dis­agree, which is why they have fought this project for over a decade.

The pre­vi­ous ad­min­is­tra­tion’s EPA, af­ter a three-year peer-re­viewed study, in­voked a pro­vi­sion of the Clean Wa­ter Act to pro­tect the Bris­tol Bay wa­ter­shed from min­ing, but Scott Pruitt, the EPA’S new chief, met with North­ern Dy­nasty and soon af­ter re­scinded the reg­u­la­tory road­block, en­cour­ag­ing the com­pany to pro­ceed with its plans to de­velop the mine and sub­mit per­mit ap­pli­ca­tions, ex­pected to hap­pen in De­cem­ber. Mean­while, the Nat­u­ral Re­sources De­fense Coun­cil en­vi­ron­men­tal group said in a state­ment that it will fight the Peb­ble Mine in court, if nec­es­sary.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.