Last week as EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt made even more of a mockery out of his agency’s mission to actually protect the environment by throwing yet another lifeline to the disastrous Pebble Mine, several former EPA Administrators responded with a message that delivered hope (not despair) to the people of Bristol Bay, Alaska—ground zero for the proposed Pebble Mine. An EPA Administrator under every Republican Presidential Administration since the EPA was created (except the Ford Administration, whose Administrator is deceased) joined forces to make a statement in opposition to the Pebble Mine.
Their statement appeared last week as full-page ads in Politico and The Hill.
The message is clear: “The Pebble Mine is the wrong mine in absolutely the wrong place.”
The hard-hitting bipartisan statement is signed by former EPA Administrators William D. Ruckelshaus (Presidents Nixon and Reagan), William K. Reilly (President George H.W. Bush), and Christine Todd Whitman (President George W. Bush). The statement is also joined by former Secretary of the Interior Bruce Babbitt (President William J. Clinton), whose former Chief of Staff Tom Collier is currently heading the Pebble Partnership.
The statement was featured on the back pages of Politico and The Hill last week, and it is supported by Bristol Bay tribes, villages, commercial fishermen, sportsmen, and environmental and conservation groups.
It came just days before the close of a public comment period, where hundreds of thousands of people asked the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to say “no” to the Pebble Mine.
Alaska Governor Bill Walker and Lieutenant Governor Byron Mallott also weighed in, urging the Corps to suspend its review of the mine until Pebble demonstrates that the project is both feasible and realistic.
“The Bristol Bay region is unique,” Walker and Mallott wrote. “It supports the largest wild sockeye salmon fishery in the world – supplying almost half of the global wild sockeye, and sustaining over 10,000 jobs. For many communities in the region, abundant salmon runs, clean water, and ecologically intact landscapes provide more than a paycheck, they sustain a treasured way of life that has existed for generations. […] Given the unique characteristics of the region, the mine proposed by Pebble Limited Partnership must be held to an extraordinarily high standard.”