EPA Flooded with Responses as the Pebble Mine Comment Period Ends


The EPA received approximately 185,000 comments on the proposed Pebble Mine in Bristol Bay, Alaska, by the close of the public comment period on July 23.  According to a release sent out by Trout Unlimited, over 98 percent of the comments opposed Pebble Mine—a proposed open-pit, gold and copper mine located at the headwaters of two the world’s most production sockeye salmon rivers.  Over 180,000 comments called for the EPA to stop development of the mine under protections afforded by the Clean Water Act.

Opponents of the mine consider the risk of environmental damage from the waste material (an estimated 10 billion tons) generated by the mining process too great.  If allowed, the mine will be located at the headwaters of the Bristol Bay watershed, the spawning grounds for over 40 million fish annually.  Even without a major disaster, experts predict significant, environmental damage will occur if the mine is developed.  The EPA’s draft Bristol Bay Watershed Assessment finds that normal mining practices would destroy as much as 87 miles of rivers and streams and 4,200 acres of wetlands.  A major catastrophe, or reoccurring leaks or spills, could devastate the region.
Widespread Opposition

Possibly most note-worthy is the diversity of groups opposed to the mine.  Hunting and fishing groups, commercial and recreational anglers, chefs and restaurant owners, churches and community groups all voiced their opposition to the development of Pebble Mine. “People have spoken loudly and clearly for their jobs, their businesses and their way of life. They want this Administration to stand up and protect Bristol Bay and its 14,000 jobs before it’s too late,” said Tim Bristol, director of Trout Unlimited’s Alaska Program.

Next Steps

On August 7 and 8, a panel of experts will review and revise the draft Assessment at a public forum in Anchorage.  Then the Obama Administration must decide whether or not to protect this vast fishery.



  1. The hopeful success of preventing the Pebble Mine from becoming a reality, in large part, is due to outdoor publications, such as Angling Trade, that have published reports and editorial coverage voicing a collective concern over this pending decision by the EPA.
    Anglers, as a community of active environmentalists, have voiced their valid concerns about this issue. As a fishing products company whose success is dependent on our nations healthy watersheds, we are appreciative of the support within our trade and to our loyal consumers who have mutually held a strong voice about stopping Pebble Mine and protecting this vital piece of our beautiful country.

    John Land Le Coq

  2. Kris Kennedy on

    A great many thanks to Angling Trade and others who are helping spread awareness and facts about the proposed Pebble Mine. We need to support the companies and groups who are making a stand against Pebble as well, like posted above by FishPond founder, John Land Le Coq. We need to make the difference as groups, as individuals and spread the word, sharing the potential threats being created by the Pebble Mine. Alaska has the appeal due to it’s vastness and enormous amount of ecosystems, wildlife and wide open spaces that it’s untouchable. It’s clearly not. This mine is at the very heart of Bristol Bay, an important nursery not only to the grand Pacific but to the world. This is it! There are no other places on planet earth like this. We are running out of wild places that thrive in great abundance, that flourish with life on all levels but are still enjoyed by many providing a sustainable resource.
    1: capable of being sustained
    2: of, relating to, or being a method of harvesting or using a resource so that the resource is not depleted or permanently damaged.

    The Pebble Project is NOT SUSTAINABLE in any shape or form.

    Thanks again to Angling Trade for making the difference!!

    Please help spread the word and make a difference by protecting this precious landscape.

  3. mathieu uchino on

    The potential for disaster is enormous- the Baia Mare cyanide spill is a classic example of what can happen if this type of development is allowed near waterways. Why so often must greed give way to common sense?

  4. Thanks Kirk and Tim (and the entire industry for that matter) for keeping Bristol Bay and Pebble Mine at the forefront.

    Frontline just covered the issue on Tuesday on PBS. Check your local listings if you missed it, as it will probably air again. Otherwise, you can read a good story here (http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/environment/alaska-gold/treasure-hunt-the-battle-over-alaskas-mega-mine/) or watch the entire episode online here (http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/alaska-gold/).

    Share those links far and wide. See everyone in Reno at IFTD where we’ll give an update at the Party on the Pond!

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