The Pebble Limited Partnership’s response to the initiation of the Clean Water Act section 404(c) process is nothing more than a rehash of the tired, empty and dishonest rhetoric the company has used in Alaska for the last decade, said Tim Bristol, director of Trout Unlimited’s Alaska Program.
“PLP’s response won’t change the size, scope, and location of the Pebble Mine. It won’t change the fact that the people of the Bristol Bay region are still faced with economic uncertainty stemming from the threat of North America’s largest open pit mine being built on top of a valuable wild salmon fishery. And it won’t change the fact that even investors in the Pebble Mine have realized that it’s the wrong mine in the wrong place,” Bristol said.
Since last fall, two of the PLP’s principal investors—Rio Tinto and Anglo-American—have divested from the effort to construct the mine that, at minimum, would destroy some 90 miles of salmon stream and perpetually threaten the world’s most important sockeye salmon fishery, not to mention the commercial and recreational fishing that support about 14,000 jobs in the region every year.
“The EPA initiated the 404(c) process in the face of overwhelming and peer-reviewed scientific evidence – evidence based on PLP’s own plans and documents—and in response to a request for action from Alaskans faced with a very real threat to their jobs, livelihoods and salmon-based culture,” Bristol said. “The EPA has the legal, policy and scientific backing to protect Bristol Bay and its economy from the Pebble Mine. It also has the backing of 80 percent of Bristol Bay residents, a majority of Alaskans and vast numbers of Americans from across the political spectrum who have spoken out on this issue. The agency should work to complete the 404(c) process as quickly as possible and apply much needed Clean Water Act Protections to the headwaters of Bristol Bay.”
Trout Unlimited is the nation’s oldest and largest coldwater fisheries conservation organization dedicated to conserving, protecting and restoring North America’s trout and salmon and their watersheds. Follow TU on Facebook and Twitter, and visit us online at tu.org.