“For decades now, the shortsighted proposal of Pebble Mine has threatened to poison Bristol Bay, destroy the world’s largest remaining wild sockeye salmon fishery, and spoil critical habitat for the endangered Cook Inlet beluga,” said Katharine Bear Nalven, Alaska representative for Defenders of Wildlife. “Bristol Bay is the lifeblood of Alaska. We celebrate this decision as we continue to fight for permanent protections for Bristol Bay and its world-class fish and wildlife resources.”

Anchorage, AK

Groups advocating for the protection of Bristol Bay waterways, salmon, and communities applaud the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers decision today to deny a Clean Water Act permit for the proposed Pebble mine.

“For decades now, the shortsighted proposal of Pebble Mine has threatened to poison Bristol Bay, destroy the world’s largest remaining wild sockeye salmon fishery, and spoil critical habitat for the endangered Cook Inlet beluga,” said Katharine Bear Nalven, Alaska representative for Defenders of Wildlife. “Bristol Bay is the lifeblood of Alaska. We celebrate this decision as we continue to fight for permanent protections for Bristol Bay and its world-class fish and wildlife resources.”

Science and public input overwhelmingly oppose the mine. Pebble’s proposed large-scale mine would destroy wetlands; produce toxic ponds that could devastate salmon fisheries throughout the watershed; and threaten the cultures, livelihoods, jobs, and food sources of over 30 Alaska communities. It would further risk a thriving salmon economy that provides food to the world and thousands and thousands of jobs throughout Alaska and the Pacific Northwest.

“It was clear from the day Pebble submitted its application that the mine would destroy headwater streams and wetlands at an unprecedented scale and pose grave risks to the world’s largest sockeye salmon run and Bristol Bay communities,” said Brian Litmans, legal director of Trustees for Alaska. “The Environmental Protection Agency already found that mining would jeopardize this intact ecosystem and its thriving fishery. The Corps has confirmed that this mine poses significant unacceptable impacts to Bristol Bay. Now we need EPA action to ensure lasting protections.”

In its decision, the Army Corps found that Pebble’s mitigation plan failed to overcome the significant impacts from the mine and that the mine was not in the public interest. The public interest review includes an assessment of a number of factors including the long-term environmental, economic and social harms associated with the destruction of the headwaters of the Koktuli watershed, as well as the ongoing operations of a mine that will produce massive amounts of toxic waste that must be managed in perpetuity. Ultimately, the public interest is best served by protecting Bristol Bay.

To ensure that Bristol Bay obtains real and lasting protection, the EPA must use its authority under the Clean Water Act to permanently foreclose any future large-scale mining in the headwaters of Bristol Bay.
 

Defenders of Wildlife is dedicated to the protection of all native animals and plants in their natural communities. With nearly 2.2 million members and activists, Defenders of Wildlife is a leading advocate for innovative solutions to safeguard our wildlife heritage for generations to come. For more information, visit defenders.org/newsroom and follow us on Twitter @Defenders.

Media Contact

Gwen Dobbs
Gwen Dobbs
Director of Media Relations
gdobbs@defenders.org
(202) 772-0269

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