EPA: Pebble Mine Could Devastate Bristol Bay

EPA: Pebble Mine Could Devastate Bristol Bay

After three years of research, the Environmental Protection Agency Jan 15 released its final watershed assessment describing how the proposed Pebble Mine would impact salmon and other ecological resources along the Nushagak and Kvichak rivers, as well as native cultures.

The report, titled "An Assessment of Potential Mining Impacts on Salmon Ecosystems of Bristol Bay, Alaska," concludes that normal mine operations would destroy 24 to 94 miles of salmon-supporting streams and 1,300 to 5,350 acres of wetlands, ponds, and lakes. An additional 9 to 33 miles of salmon-supporting streams would experience altered streamflows.


To make the assessment, the EPA considered mine scenarios proposed by the owner Northern Dynasty Minerals Ltd., and submitted to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.


The report also indicates that the mine would generate millions of tons of waste requiring treatment and storage, and that storage failures could have additional massive impacts.


Bristol Bay supports the largest sockeye salmon fishery in the world with a value of $1.5 billion annually, producing nearly 50 percent of the world's wild sockeye salmon with runs averaging 37.5 million fish each year. The Pebble Mine is the world's largest low-grade copper deposit with gold and other minerals valued at more than $400 billion.

The scientific report produced by the EPA has no regulatory effect, but provides decision makers with data they need to process future permit applications.

Also, section 404(c) of the Clean Water Act allows the EPA administrator to prohibit, withdraw, deny or restrict the discharge of dredged or fill materials into the waters of the United States if such discharge "will have an unacceptable adverse effect on . . . fishery areas (including spawning and breeding areas), wildlife, or recreational areas." EPA may do so "before a permit application has been submitted to the Corps."


Section 404(c) has been used 13 times; 11 of these have been by Republican administrations.

"The EPA's assessment makes it clear that the Pebble Mine would deal a huge blow to the sportsman's paradise we have in Bristol Bay," said Tim Bristol, director of Trout Unlimited's Alaska Program.

"Bristol Bay is the last place you should put a mine like this. The EPA needs to act now to protect Bristol Bay and Alaskan jobs."


Get Your Fish On.

Plan your next fishing and boating adventure here.

Recommended for You

Lines

8 New Fly Lines for 2019

Fly-Fisherman

Here's a look at 8 new fly lines for 2019.

Fly Tying

Perdigon Nymph

Charlie Craven - January 15, 2019

These dense, indestructible nymphs will improve your subsurface game.

Fly Tying

Fly Tying Chip's Monster Magic Fly

Dwayne 'Chip' Cromarty - January 15, 2016

Chip's Monster Magic. Designed in Saskatchewan's pike paradise - works anywhere.

See More Recommendations

Popular Videos

Black Beauty

Master fly tier Charlie Craven discuss the tools and materials needed to tie the Black Beauty.

Basic Saltwater Casting

In saltwater, several basic rules of the sea allows anglers to wade safely, cast well, and catch fish.

Getting Started In Fly Fishing

Getting Started In Fly Fishing

See more Popular Videos

Trending Stories

Flies

The 15 Best Carp Flies

Jay Zimmerman - September 27, 2016

As you explore your home water, keep in mind what they are are eating to select the best carp...

Fly Tying

Best Panfish Flies

Skip Morris - October 17, 2016

Best Panfish Flies

United States

American River California

MIchael Wier - March 23, 2017

American River California

See More Stories

More Industry

Industry

The Most Radical Guides in America?

Jonathan Wright - June 07, 2018

Guides and outfitting services in America come in all flavors. The men that make up Gunnison...

Industry

Abe's Fly Shop Turns 60

Jay Walden - February 22, 2019

It began with love of a river that he fished as a boy with his father, and a passion for the...

Industry

Houston Readies for Sportsman Channel Outdoor Fest

Fly Fisherman - May 14, 2018

Scheduled for July 20-22 at Houston's George R. Brown Convention Center, the Sportsman Channel...

See More Industry

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Temporary Price Reduction.

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

PREVIEW THIS MONTH'S ISSUE

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

×