Today, the EPA announced it has decided to proceed under its Clean Water Act section 404(c) regulations to review the potential adverse impacts of mining the Pebble desposit in Bristol Bay, Alaska.
Katherine Carscallen, Sustainability Director for the Bristol Bay Regional Seafood Development Association, made the following statement regarding today’s announcement.
“Though Bristol Bay supports a $1.5 billion commercial fishery and 14,000 jobs in total, our commercial fishermen have lived for a decade under a cloud of economic uncertainty created by the prospect of large-scale mining development in Bristol Bay. Today’s announcement from the EPA shows that the clouds over Bristol Bay beginning to move. The EPA has clearly listened to our voices, and we are pleased they are responding to the request for Clean Water Act protections we made four years ago. There are still many steps in the process before the threat of building mines like Pebble in Bristol Bay is fully put to rest, but we are pleased this first and necessary step has been taken.”
Today’s announcement comes after the EPA released its final Bristol Bay Watershed Assessment last month. The three-year scientific assessment found that even without accident, mines like the proposed Pebble project could destroy up to 5,350 acres of the wetlands, lakes, and ponds that support Bristol Bay’s world-class salmon fishery and up to 94 miles of salmon-spawning streams. Four years ago, commercial fishermen joined Alaska Native tribes and organizations, sportsmen, and others in requesting EPA action in Bristol Bay.
Logo courtesy Commercial Fishermen of Bristol Bay