– U.S. Environmental Protection Agency when proposing in 2014 to restrict development of the Pebble deposit in Alaska’s pristine Bristol Bay watershed
Alaska’s Bristol Bay & The Pebble Mine
In a blatant attempt to undo a hard-won victory for Tribes, Alaska residents, recreational anglers and small businesses, the State of Alaska is seeking to revive the Pebble Mine project by going directly to the Supreme Court. In an extremely unusual legal complaint, Alaska seeks to strike down an EPA determination issued in January to protect the Bristol Bay watershed under Section 404 of the Clean Water Act.
“It’s a highly unusual legal move, and also a highly unpopular one,” Earthjustice's Alaska Regional Office Managing Attorney, Carole Holley, said in reaction to the state's brief filed on July 26 by Alaska Attorney General Treg Taylor. “The governor and his administration are working against the wishes of most Alaskans, especially Bristol Bay residents, by continuing to side with the mine developer.”
It is a hard-won victory by all those who have been fighting for decades to stop the Pebble Mine project. Collectively, these decisions effectively spell victory in the decades-long fight to protect Bristol Bay from Pebble Mine.
Pebble Mine would directly impact the world’s greatest sockeye salmon run. It would put in jeopardy thousands of American jobs, a cultural tradition of subsistence dating back 10,000 years, and a robust sport-fishing and tourism economy. Two out of three Alaskans oppose the Pebble Mine and support these protections.
The EPA cited its authority under under Section 404(c) of the Clean Water Act in banning mine disposal in the salmon-filled waters. It took years of litigation to enable the Biden administration’s EPA to follow the extensive scientific record and put forward these enduring protections.