Army Corps releases half-baked review of Pebble Mine proposal

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has released its draft environmental review of the proposed (and long-opposed) Pebble Mine—a massive gold and copper operation that Northern Dynasty Minerals wants to build smack-dab at the headwaters of Alaska’s nearly pristine Bristol Bay. The Environmental Impact Statement has been in the works for just a year, and Taryn Kiekow Heimer, a deputy director with NRDC’s Nature program, calls the draft “a rushed and—at best—a superficial review of the largest ever proposed mine in Alaska.” According to the United Tribes of Bristol Bay, the review completely omits local concerns, such as the mine threatening what’s considered the greatest wild salmon ecosystem on earth, along with the livelihoods of commercial fishermen and the traditional ways of life that depend on it. The $1.5 billion fishery produces 50 percent of the world’s sockeye salmon. Pebble Mine, if fully developed, could poison the bay’s headwater with up to 10 billion tons of mining tailings, waste that would need to be stored indefinitely in a wet and seismically active region. A lot is on the line—and the Corps' rubber-stamp job won’t cut it.

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