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EPA Capitulates to Developers of Alaska’s Massive Proposed Pebble Mine

Trump administration enters settlement agreement clearing the way for a new permitting process
Sockeye salmon in Alaska's Bristol Bay.

Sockeye salmon in Alaska's Bristol Bay.

Photo provided by Ben Knight / Trout Unlimited
May 12, 2017
Juneau, AK —

Today, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) turned its back on local communities and capitulated to the demands of the developers of Alaska’s massive proposed Pebble Mine, ending a lawsuit by the developers.

In 2010, local communities of Bristol Bay, tribal governments, commercial fishermen, and others sought EPA’s help to prevent the development of a massive proposed copper and gold mine in the headwaters of the world’s largest sockeye salmon runs, supplying 14,000 jobs in fishing and recreation. It would be the largest open pit mine ever constructed in North America, with a total mine area larger than Manhattan.

EPA responded, producing a rigorous, peer-reviewed, scientific study, with multiple opportunities for public input, concluding that such a large-scale mine would have an unacceptable adverse effect on Bristol Bay salmon. The agency proposed restrictions that would prevent development of a large mine.

Pebble sued. In today’s settlement, EPA agrees to initiate the process of withdrawing the proposed restrictions protecting the fishery. This clears the way for a new permitting process.

Following is a statement from Earthjustice Staff Attorney Tom Waldo:

“The Trump administration didn’t get the message that the Pebble Mine is not welcome in Alaska. This settlement ignores sound science and places profits over people.

“Fortunately, there is a long way to go before Pebble can get the permits needed for this mine. Earthjustice will continue to participate in this process and work to protect this world-class salmon stronghold.”