The proposed copper and gold mine has come to epitomize environmentalists’ struggle to protect ecosystems against the will of the federal government.
To the relief of millions of Americans, the governing agency has just blocked approval for the Pebble Mine project in Alaska, ending a decades-long battle - and probably to the dismay of the soon to be ex-President of the United States who seems to care not a jot about the environment.
The mine would likely have been as deep as the Grand Canyon, providing access to the world’s most valuable undeveloped copper resource, but extracting the metal could have produced enough waste to fill an NFL stadium nearly 3,900 times, according to the Associated Press.
The agency concluded that “the proposed project is contrary to the public interest” and blocked the approval of the mine under the Clean Waters Act and the Rivers and Harbors Act.
Environmentalists, sportsmen, fishing industry unions and their lobbyists have repeatedly warned that the immensity of the mine would devastate the Bristol Bay and Bristol River salmon run.
Containing the world’s largest salmon run and the world’s largest sockeye salmon fishery, all five species of Pacific salmon frequent Bristol Bay and its eight tributary rivers. Along with herring, these populations account for 75 percent of local jobs, over $200 million annually in revenue, and 40 percent of the nation’s total salmon catch.
The denial of the permit for the mine is clearly a victory for common sense. “The opposition to this project from all corners of the political spectrum runs strong and deep. The process has played out, and the science is clear. There is no way this ill-conceived project can coexist with Bristol Bay salmon,” said the group, according to the nonprofit, Save Bristol Bay.
“The denial of Pebble’s permit is a victory for American jobs, rural communities, and a fishing and hunting paradise long threatened by this shortsighted and reckless proposal. With this behind us, the people of Bristol Bay can start the work of ensuring the region is protected into the future from threats,” said a director of Trout Unlimited.
“Thank you to all who came together and made their voices heard to keep one of the world’s great watersheds pristine. Today, Bristol Bay, Alaska, is one step closer to being a protected American treasure that sustains local communities and industries and that outdoor enthusiasts can enjoy and experience for generations to come,” said Orvis President, Simon Perkins.
Alaska Trees Victory: Some of these giants are even older than the US. On Prince of Wales Island in southeast Alaska, majestic mega-trees that are key to combatting climate change have been protected from chainsaws after a federal judge rejected a sweeping logging plan that would have spanned a project area of 1.8 million acres in the Tongass National Forest. More