Court decision reinforces need for immediate EPA action to protect the region
DILLINGHAM, AK – Thursday, in a 2-1 decision, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals reversed a lower court’s decision and sent the case back to consider whether the Trump Administration’s decision to withdraw the Obama-era EPA’s 404(c) Proposed Determination was based on arbitrary reasoning. In response to this important ruling, Alannah Hurley, Executive Director of the United Tribes of Bristol Bay, issued the following quote:
“The United Tribes of Bristol Bay, representing fifteen tribal governments that make up more than 80% of the population of Bristol Bay, is unified in supporting an EPA 404(c) veto of the Pebble Mine. Today’s ruling reinforces the need for the EPA to take immediate action to veto this dangerous mine and provide the needed and lasting protections for the people who live here.”
A longer statement from Ms. Hurley is below:
“Today’s ruling couldn’t be more clear, the Trump administration’s political interference in the 404(c) process had no basis in science, law, or fact. It is time to turn the page and get back to the work of providing the necessary protections the people of Bristol Bay have been calling for: an EPA 404(c) veto.
The reality is that the proposed Pebble Mine is an existential threat to Bristol Bay – one of the world’s largest salmon fisheries and home some of the last intact salmon-based cultures. This toxic mine would produce up to 10.2 billion tons of toxic waste and irreparably damage our pristine homeland and our traditional way of life. In light of this ruling, the EPA has an obligation to immediately act to protect Bristol Bay and veto the Pebble Mine. They must listen to the science, the lengthy Obama/Biden administration’s record of support, and to people who live in Bristol Bay who are unified in calling for a 404(c) veto.
The United Tribes of Bristol Bay – representing 15 federally recognized tribes and more than 80% of the people who live in the bay – urges President Biden to honor his campaign promise to protect Bristol Bay and finish what the Obama/Biden administration started by quickly advancing a 404(c) veto. A 404(c) veto is the best path forward to provide the needed protections the Tribal people of Bristol Bay, and those whose livelihoods depend on its waters, need and support.”