16 Jan 2014:
Pebble Mine Would Endanger
Alaska's Bristol Bay, Major EPA Study Finds
Mulchatna River, part of Bristol Bay watershed
A three-year study by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has determined that mining in Alaska's Bristol Bay area would pose significant dangers to the environment
, a potentially fatal setback for plans to develop Pebble Mine, a major open-pit mining project that aimed to exploit one of the largest and richest mineral deposits in the world. The EPA study cited concerns for the region's thriving sockeye salmon population
and its native people, saying the mine would destroy 24 to 94 miles of salmon streams and 1,300 to 5,350 acres of wetlands, ponds, and lakes. Pebble Mine proponents, including Alaska Governor Sean Parnell, criticize the study as flawed and rushed, since the development company wasn't allowed to submit its mining plan before the EPA study. Native groups, fishermen, and environmental organizations are applauding the study. "With today's release, science has weighed-in: Bristol Bay, its existing jobs and way of life could be irreparably damaged by a large-scale mine," the Bristol Bay Native Corporation said. The proposed mine — which seeks to exploit gold, copper, and other metals — was already in trouble, with one of two major partners withdrawing from the project last year.