Reversing its course, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is now paving the way for a company seeking gold and copper mining permits in Alaska’s Bristol Bay. The area is culturally important to the region’s indigenous peoples, who overwhelmingly oppose Pebble Mine, and its fishing industry supports thousands of jobs and generates $1.5 billion annually. During the Obama administration, the EPA proposed restrictions on the mine to preserve Bristol Bay’s ecological health and protect its world-class salmon fishery, but they were never finalized due to a lawsuit. Despite the fact that the agency had previously determined that the mine’s potential to dump 10 billion tons of toxic waste into the bay would pose “catastrophic” risks, Trump’s EPA is voluntarily lifting Clean Water Act protections that would restrict the mine’s activities. The administration’s backdoor deal with industry jeopardizes Bristol Bay’s ecosystem and local economy—and it flies in the face of widespread opposition among millions of citizens around the country.
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Expert BlogTaryn Kiekow Heimer
If the Trump administration’s strategy is to put a foreign mining company first—and America’s greatest wild salmon fishery last—then sadly it’s succeeding.
NRDC in ActionAlaskaNicole Greenfield, Jeff Turrentine
The EPA’s decision to veto the project is fantastic news—but the fight to save Bristol Bay isn’t over yet.