The US Environmental Protection Agency has announced proposed restrictions that would essentially block a potentially damaging gold and copper mine in Alaska. In what sounds like a story from The Onion, Pebble Limited Partnership, along with the state of Alaska, are now suing the EPA.
According to EPA regional administrator Dennis McLerran, “mining the Pebble deposit would cause irreversible damage to one of the world’s last intact salmon ecosystems. Bristol Bay’s exceptional fisheries deserve exceptional protection.”
But that hasn’t deterred the company behind this proposed mine which, if allowed to proceed, would be the largest open pit ever built in North America, reaching a depth that rivals that of the Grand Canyon at nearly a mile. Based on conservative standards, mining would mean the loss of at least 5 miles of streams with documented salmon or loss of 1,100 or more acres of wetlands, lakes and ponds that connect to salmon-bearing streams or tributaries of those streams.
And that’s a best case scenario assuming there won’t be an accident.
We’ll see how this plays out in court. Right now, opposition to the mine is strong but the company behind the project sees a significant profit to be made from this venture, so they plan to fight. Beginning Monday, the EPA will begin taking public comment regarding their proposal. Rest assured, we’ll be continuing our efforts in support of the EPA measure.