EPA Takes First Steps Towards Protecting Bristol Bay Salmon Fishery from Pebble Mine

Initiates Clean Water Act 404(c) process

In February 2014, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced it is using its authority under Section 404(c) of the Clean Water Act to consider options for protecting the world’s largest wild salmon fishery in Alaska’s Bristol Bay from the proposed Pebble Mine.

Section 404(c) authorizes the agency to restrict or prohibit mine waste disposal in the rivers, streams or wetlands that feed Bristol Bay to safeguard the salmon fishery. During the review, the EPA will rely heavily on its peer-reviewed scientific assessment of the impacts of large-scale mining in the Bristol Bay watershed, released in January 2014.

What's next?

Today’s action is not a final decision to block the mine, but it does put on hold any attempts to build the mine until the process is complete. There are several steps in the Clean Water Act Section 404(c) review process, and public involvement opportunities are part of the process:

Step 1 – Consultation period with U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and owners of the site (initiated on February 28, 2014).
Step 2 – Publication of Proposed Determination, including proposed prohibitions or restrictions on mining the Pebble deposit, in the Federal Register for public comment and one or more public hearings.
Step 3 – Review of public comments and development of Recommended Determination by EPA.
Step 4 – Second consultation period with the Army Corps and site owners and development of Final Determination.

Learn more about the 404c process.

Anchorage editorial responds to House Republicans

Be sure to read the editorial in the Anchorage Daily News today, which responds to recent pressure from House Republicans from California and Georgia, against the U.S. Environmental Protection Agnecy (EPA) for the draft watershed assessment it recently completed of Alaska’s Bristol Bay.  Here’s how the ADN responds: “The EPA isn’t the issue here. Whether […]

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Commercial fishermen take message to UK food magazine

Alaska’s commercial fishermen have taken the message about the risks to the wild salmon fishery to those that love to buy and eat salmon.  A recent article and letter appear in the UK magazine – The Grocer. Did you know that the UK is the largest importer of Bristol Bay canned salmon?

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Word is out: Toxic mine spills frequent at Anglo American Mine

A new article in the Santiago Times describes multiple toxic spills at Anglo American’s Los Bronces mine in Chile. According to the article, a a truck transporting ammonium nitrate veered off the road near Santiago on March 28, spilling 20 tons of its toxic cargo just feet from a river feeding the Aguas Cordillera water […]

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Supermarkets Rally To Support Alaska’s Bristol Bay Fishery

It’s big news.  For the first time ever, the Food Marketing Institute, which represents 26,000 food retail stores and $680 billion in annual revenue, has spoken out on behalf of protecting Alaska’s Bristol Bay wild salmon fishery – the largest wild salmon fishery in the world. FMI, announced its support for an EPA study of […]

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AP story shows how Pebble Partnership stone-walled agencies

The Pebble Partnership recently released its 27,000 pages of baseline data, but an AP story documents how PLP stone-walled agency staff who are tasked with studying the impacts. “It’s virtually impossible to provide substantive review comments when (Pebble) doesn’t disclose more details of their development plans and their contractors only occasionally share snippets of the […]

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Anglo American’s Pebble Mine Poses High Risk to Investors

A new investor risk report highlights the regulatory, legal, political and engineering hurdles confronting Anglo American’s controversial Pebble mine project.  “Local opposition to the Pebble mine project has translated into a barrage of legal, political and regulatory hurdles over the last year,” said Jonas Kron, analyst at Trillium Asset Management Corp. “After scrutinizing the project […]

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More from the Blog

Anglo American withdraws from the Pebble Partnership
AngloAmerican logo
As Anglo leaves, eyes turn to EPA

A Reprieve for Bristol Bay

March 2, 2014 | The New York Times

Feds, miners, Alaska natives: What they're saying about Pebble Mine

March 2, 2014 | L.A. Times

We Can’t Eat Gold in Bristol Bay – An Interview with Yup’ik spokesman Bobby Andrew

January 23, 2014 | IC Magazine

EPA: Mining would destroy fishery, villages, part of watershed in Alaska’s Bristol Bay

January 15, 2014 | Washington Post

EPA Says Northern Dynasty Pebble Project May Harm Alaska Salmon

January 15, 2014 | Businessweek

Alaska Native Tribes, Jewelers, Investors, Commercial Fishermen and Conservation Groups Applaud EPA’s Final Study of Large-Scale Mining in Alaska’s Bristol Bay Watershed

January 15, 2014 | Earthworks et. al.

EPA releases Bristol Bay Assessment describing potential impacts to salmon and water from copper, gold mining

January 15, 2014 | EPA

EPA now expects to release Pebble Mine report in 2014

December 15, 2013 | Juneau Empire

EPA now expects to release Pebble Mine report in 2014

December 15, 2013 | Juneau Empire

Religious Leaders in Alaska Urge EPA's McCarthy to Finish Bristol Bay Study

December 11, 2013 | KDLG

Luki Akelkok, Sr. Chairman of Nunamta Aulukestai

September 16, 2013 | Nunamta Aulukestai

Press Statement of Earthworks Executive Director Jennifer Krill regarding Anglo American’s Withdrawal from the Pebble Mine Proposal

September 16, 2013 | Earthworks

Fishing or Mining: Alaska’s Bristol Bay Region Debates Its Future

September 3, 2013 | Center for American Progress

EPA chief hears Pebble mine arguments in SW Alaska visit

August 28, 2013 | Anchorage Daily News

Poll Shows Wide Fears of Pebble Mine

August 26, 2013 | Alaska Public Media

Alaska's salmon, more precious than gold

July 29, 2013 | CNN

Proposed pebble mine threatens Native Alaskans' way of life

July 27, 2013 | Alaska Dispatch

100 Jewelers Pledge Support for Alaska’s Bristol Bay from Pebble Mine, Earthworks Announces

June 27, 2013 | Earthworks