The Numbers Continue to Crunch the Pebble Mine

Facts – for example, numbers -- have never been a friend to the Pebble Mine.  By now, some of these are familiar to all of us:

  • 10 billion – The number of tons of mining waste laced with toxics that the Pebble Mine as proposed would generate – about 3,000 pounds for every person on Earth.
  • 80% -- The level of overwhelming opposition to the Pebble Mine among residents of the Bristol Bay region, where the mine would be located.
  • 25-50 million –The number of wild salmon in a typical annual run of the Bristol Bay fisheries.
  • 1.5 billion – The annual revenue generated by the Bristol Bay fisheries if they are protected.

Last month -- September 2014 – added some new numbers to this list, and once again none of them was good news for the Pebble Limited Partnership (or its sole partner Northern Dynasty Minerals).

Consider these:

604,395 – The number of public comments filed and processed as of today in response to the U.S. EPA’s proposal to restrict the Pebble Mine under federal Clean Water Act section 404(c) – before the close of the comment period on September 19.  Of these comments, approximately 600,089  support  EPA’s proposed restrictions.  Although not yet a final count, this virtually unanimous response in support of EPA’s proposal is an extraordinary mandate for protecting the Bristol Bay region from large scale mining – and yet another indictment of the Pebble Mine project.

330,000 – The dollar amount of the payment from the Pebble Limited Partnership (PLP) and its agents to Pebble Mine opponent Renewable Resources Coalition (RRC) pursuant to a settlement announced in early September.  Together with an apology to RRC, PLP made the payment to settle RRC’s lawsuit alleging, in essence, that the Pebble Limited Partnership and its agents had paid former RRC fundraising consultant Robert Kaplan for confidential, proprietary information obtained by him from RRC and others in the course of his work as a consultant to RRC. 

1 – The number of PLP lawsuits against EPA – and requests for an injunction -- rejected so far by U.S. District Judge Russell Holland, based in Anchorage.  PLP’s lawsuit filed last summer (together with the Alaska Peninsula Corporation and joined by the State of Alaska)  challenged EPA’s authority to use Clean Water Act section 404(c) to protect the Bristol Bay region from large scale mining of the Pebble site.  In late September, in response to motions to dismiss filed by EPA and by a coalition of tribes, village corporations, the Bristol Bay Native Corporation, and environmental groups (including NRDC),  Judge Holland rejected PLP’s argument for court review and dismissed the case.  Expect PLP to sue again . . . and again.

0.54 – The share price in cents on September 30 for Northern Dynasty Minerals (“NDM”), the sole remaining partner in the PLP and the 100% owner of the Pebble Mine project.  Today, five days later, the share price has dropped an additional 5 cents to 0.49.  Since February 2011, when the value exceeded $21.00 per share, the price for a share of NDM stock has almost disappeared.

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O – The number of reasons for EPA not to finalize its proposed 404(c) determination – and stop the Pebble Mine.

It’s time for EPA to finish the job.  Take action now.

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Photo Cred: Robert Glenn Ketchum