We are very excited to share the news that on Friday, the EPA released its proposed determination for how to best protect Bristol Bay's vast salmon-based resources from large-scale development of the Pebble deposit. Hooray!
This doesn't mean the fight is won, but it brings us much closer to protecting Bristol Bay salmon. The chart below shows where we are in the process to protect Bristol Bay, and what comes next. Below it, there is some additional detail about the impact of Friday's announcement.
The EPA is taking a conservative approach. Instead of vetoing the project outright, they are placing advanced restrictions on the Pebble deposit. ...Meaning they used Pebble Limited Partnership's filing documents with the Securities and Exchange Commission (aka SEC) to base their information on what could and could not be done within the watershed to still have healthy salmon habitat. The idea is to limit the impacts that mining development in Bristol Bay would have on its salmon-producing streams, lakes, and wetlands.
What does that mean for Pebble? The EPA's approach means that any developer wishing to mine the Pebble deposit area must prove that its operations will not have an "unacceptable adverse effect" on Bristol Bay's water resources. These are standards that were set by the Clean Water Act over 40 years ago. This means that if Pebble can meet these high standards, it is free to proceed to the Army Corps permitting process.
Trout Unlimited is looking forward to participating in the upcoming public comment period. Today's EPA action is a win for Alaskans and all who cherish Bristol Bay. During the comment period, we have the opportunity to encourage the EPA to continue the process and issue final protections for Bristol Bay that ensure a bright future for Bristol Bay. The EPA will accept public comments until Sept. 19th. Please check back soon for an updated Take Action page!
Anchorage: Tuesday, August 12 at 2pm, Egan Center - Cook and Artegan Rooms
New Stuyahok: Wednesday, August 13 at 5pm, Cetuyaraq Community Center
Nondalton: Wednesday, August 13 at 5pm, Nondalton Community Center
Kokhanok: Thursday, August 14, 5pm, Location to be announced
Dillingham: Thursday, August 14 at 5pm, Middle School Gymnasium
Iliamna: Friday, August 15 at 12pm, Community Center
Igiugig: Friday, August 15 at 12pm, Tribal Hall