“Bristol Bay—home to some of the world’s most important salmon runs—is simply the wrong place for an enormous, risky copper mine.”
WASHINGTON (September 9, 2021) — The National Wildlife Federation heralded the Biden Administration’s action that would allow the Environmental Protection Agency to move forward with blocking the destructive Pebble Mine.
“Bristol Bay—home to some of the world’s most important salmon runs—is simply the wrong place for an enormous, risky copper mine. We greatly appreciate President Biden and Administrator Regan restarting the veto process to begin fulfilling the administration’s commitment to listen to the scientists and protect one of America’s most pristine ecological treasures,” said Collin O’Mara, president and CEO of the National Wildlife Federation. “The Clean Water Act expressly gives EPA the power to block damaging projects like this one and there will never a bit a more clear-cut reason to use it than protecting Bristol Bay for the communities and wildlife that depend upon it.”
All five species of salmon have robust runs up the pristine rivers and streams that feed into Bristol Bay and the bay’s abundant wildlife supports local and indigenous communities. Specifically, the bay is home to the largest sockeye salmon fishery in the world, which supports 13,000 jobs and creates $1.5 billion in economic activity.
In 2014, the EPA issued a proposed determination finding that the mine – which would be one of the largest copper mines in the world – could not be built safely, in part due to tailings ponds filled with billions of gallons of toxic waste that would need to be actively maintained for thousands of years.
In 2019, the Trump Administration withdrew that determination as part of a court action. The Biden Administration is asking that the court vacate and remand that withdrawal, which would restart a process under Section 404(c) of the Clean Water Act that could prohibit a permit from being issued that would allow the destructive Pebble Mine to be built.