The Bristol Bay watershed in Alaska is an area rich with salmon, wildlife and salmon-based Alaska Native cultures and is home to the largest sockeye salmon run in the world.
A large-scale gold and copper mine, called the Pebble Mine, has been proposed for the area. Between 24 and 94 miles of streams would be lost due to the mine footprint alone, spills into the remaining streams are likely, and the resulting toxic mine waste will pose a threat to the area in perpetuity.
In January 2014, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency released its final Bristol Bay Assessment describing potential impacts to salmon and ecological resources from proposed large-scale copper and gold mining in Bristol Bay, Alaska. The report, titled An Assessment of Potential Mining Impacts on Salmon Ecosystems of Bristol Bay, Alaska, details the grave risks facing Bristol Bay’s natural resources, Native peoples, commercial fishing jobs and industry, and tremendous recreational opportunities if a mine is allowed to proceed.
Tom Waldo, Attorney, Alaska Office, Earthjustice: “If Donlin is going to use Pebble infrastructure, that’s a different project with different impacts to different communities. It will require new permitting by the Army Corps and State of Alaska agencies.”
Erin Whalen, Attorney, Alaska Regional Office, Earthjustice: “We’re prepared to take legal action if necessary to protect Bristol Bay.”