Good news! Today the Army Corps denied a Clean Water Act permit for the proposed Pebble mine. This is a great win for Bristol Bay, and a testament to the efforts of all the Alaskans fighting for clean water, healthy salmon, and the ways of life of Alaskans who have thrived in the region for thousands of years.
With this Pebble permit denied, we turn to the work of securing permanent protections for Bristol Bay, because we know that Northern Dynasty will do everything it can to push its Pebble proposal forward and profit at the expense of the watershed.
As our legal director Brian Litmans noted in our press release, “It was clear from the day Pebble submitted its application that the mine would destroy headwater streams and wetlands at and unprecedented scale and pose grave risks to the world’s largest sockeye salmon run and Bristol Bay communities. The Environmental Protection Agency already found that mining would jeopardize this intact ecosystem and its thriving fishery. The Army Corps has confirmed that this mine poses significant unacceptable impacts to Bristol Bay. Now we need EPA action to ensure lasting protections.”
Today we leave you with the voices of some of our clients and partners, who joined us in celebrating today’s permit denial and in calling for permanent protections.
With Pebble permit denied, a call for protecting Bristol Bay forever
“For decades now, the shortsighted proposal of Pebble Mine has threatened to poison Bristol Bay, destroy the world’s largest remaining wild sockeye salmon fishery, and spoil critical habitat for the endangered Cook Inlet beluga,” said Katharine Bear Nalven, Alaska representative for Defenders of Wildlife. “Bristol Bay is the lifeblood of Alaska. We celebrate this decision as we continue to fight for permanent protections for Bristol Bay and its world-class fish and wildlife resources.”
“We applaud the Army Corps’ decision to follow the overwhelming science demonstrating the unacceptable adverse effects of the proposed Pebble Mine,” said Sierra Club Senior Attorney Peter Morgan. “That same science also demands more permanent protections for the natural beauty, abundant wildlife, and thriving fishing economy of the Bristol Bay watershed.”
“The US Army Corps’ decision prioritizes the health of the people, national parks and wildlife of Bristol Bay, including the world’s largest salmon run and highest concentration of brown bears,” said Jim Adams, Alaska Regional Director, National Parks Conservation Association. “While we applaud today’s decision to halt the Pebble Mine, the National Parks Conservation Association will continue to support the people of the region in their efforts to permanently safeguard Bristol Bay from future threats to the remarkable lands, water, and wildlife of the region.”
“The denial of a permit is a good step but does not provide the permanent protections Bristol Bay deserves,” said Drew Hamilton, president of Friends of McNeil River. “We intend to keep fighting until this project is vetoed under the Clean Water Act. With permanent protections for Bristol Bay in place, the people, wildlife, and businesses of Bristol Bay will have something to be truly thankful for.”
“Today’s announcement is a step in the right direction for the more than 190 bird species that spend time in Bristol Bay’s 3,500 acres of wetlands, lakes, ponds, and salmon streams,” said Dr. Natalie Dawson, executive director of National Audubon Society’s Alaska office. “The global significance of Bristol Bay’s waters for fish and wildlife require permanent protections and the federal government should use this permit denial as a springboard to secure permanent clean water protections.”
“This permit denial shows that Alaskan voices are being heard,” said Shanelle Afcan, community organizer for The Alaska Center. “The permitting process should be based on good science and the health and economic needs of the Bristol Bay community. It’s heartening to see the work of so many people finally having an effect on this administration’s policies. But the Pebble Partnership has millions to spend on litigating themselves out of the grave (they have done it before)–that’s why it’s even more crucial that our elected leaders push for an EPA veto. Alaskans deserve certainty, we deserve long term protections for Bristol Bay.”