EPA Finds Pebble Mine Poses Big Risks to Salmon
n a significant blow to the corporate backers of the
dramatic impact on the environment.” Indeed, EPA finds that
proposed Pebble Mine, the Environmental Protection
even at its minimum size, the proposed Pebble Mine would
Agency (EPA) has released the results of a 15-month
destroy thousands of acres of wetlands and more than 50
scientific assessment of Alaska’s Bristol
miles of streams that are crucial habitat
Bay watershed, concluding that large-
for salmon, the linchpin of the Bristol
scale mining there would jeopardize
the area’s legendary salmon runs. The
A public meeting in Seattle on EPA’s
draft findings, issued in May for public
findings drew a standing-room-only
review and comment, were cheered by
crowd of hundreds of Pebble Mine
NRDC and a coalition of other groups
opponents, including Reynolds and
that are fighting a plan by global
a number of NRDC Members, as well
mining companies to gouge one of the world’s largest gold and copper mines Grizzly © 2012 Scott Dickerson/AlaskaStock.com
out of the headwaters of Bristol Bay.
as hundreds of commercial fishermen. A grizzly sits on a riverbank waiting for salmon near Bristol Bay, Alaska.
The mood among the mining executives was grim, according to Reynolds. “They’ll
“This study is grounded in sound science that hasn’t been
do everything they can to discredit the EPA study,” he says.
bought and paid for by the mining industry,” says Senior
“But the science is clear and the risks have been confirmed.
Attorney Joel Reynolds, who directs NRDC’s Stop Pebble
Now EPA needs to act on its own findings. We’re pressing for
Mine campaign. “It confirms what we’ve been saying all
the agency to assert its authority under the Clean Water Act
along: You can’t dig a mine 2,000 feet deep and generate
and protect the Bristol Bay watershed by prohibiting large-
billions of tons of contaminated waste and not have a
scale mining — including the Pebble Mine.”
Talking With . . . Jean Schauffler Jean Schauffler has been a Member of NRDC since 1984. She was a teacher for 34 years, mostly in elementary schools. A longtime resident of upstate New York, she enjoyed gardening and bird-watching in her youth. Now 77, she still looks for ways to remain environmentally active. Q. What made you become a Legacy Leader and include NRDC in your will? A. I have always wanted to do more. In the beginning I was outraged by the coal industry’s practices of clearcut logging and mountaintop removal. Then I was devastated by how fast open space was disappearing. Then when fracking came to my region, I knew I had to increase my involvement.
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