Forum Index > Public Lands Stewardship > EPA comments limiting footprint of Pebble Mine, Bristol Bay
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gb
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PostFri Aug 15, 2014 10:54 am 
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The proposed Pebble Mine would cause severe damage to tributary streams that flow into Bristol Bay, home of some of the largest salmon runs in SE Alaska.

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The Environmental Protection Agency recently proposed restrictions that would limit development of the Pebble ore deposit in Alaska. This is a tremendously good move by the EPA to protect Alaska's Bristol Bay, home to abundant wildlife and world-class salmon runs, including the world's largest sockeye fishery.

The proposal is not yet finalized, however. The EPA is currently accepting public comments and needs to hear from you today.

If approved, the Pebble Mine would be the largest, most destructive open-pit mine ever built in North America. Over its lifetime, the mine could generate 23 billion tons of dangerous mining waste, wiping out over 90 miles of salmon streams and more than 5,000 acres of intertwined wetlands, ponds and lakes. The EPA's proposed restrictions would effectively prohibit such large-scale destruction.

The Pebble Limited Partnership, which owns the mining rights, has filed a lawsuit asking the court to halt the EPA's public process immediately. That's right: the mining company is terrified to let your voice to be heard.

Earthjustice legal experts are asking the court to throw out this case and let the EPA do its job. We've been fighting for decades to protect Alaskan wilderness, and we stand ready to fight once again.

Sample letter from Earthjustice:

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Please Adopt Strong Final Restrictions to Protect Bristol Bay (RE: EPA-R10-OW-2014-0505)
Dear EPA Regional Administrator Dennis McLerran,

I support the EPA's proposed determination for Alaska's Bristol Bay watershed. I urge you to follow through with strong action to restrict mining-related discharges from the Pebble deposit.

The EPA is right to conclude that the world's largest sockeye salmon fishery is no place for a giant open-pit copper mine. The tens of millions of fish caught here each year generate 14,000 jobs and pump $1.5 billion into the economy. They support not only the commercial and sportfishing industries, but a traditional Native way of life that has endured for millennia and thrives today.

In response to requests from the region's tribal governments and others, the EPA completed a comprehensive scientific assessment of the proposed Pebble Mine. Realistic scenarios would require the permanent storage of more than 20 billion tons of dangerous mining waste from the largest open-pit mine ever built in North America (nearly as deep as the Grand Canyon), wiping out over 90 miles of salmon streams and more than 5,000 acres of intertwined wetlands, ponds, and lakes.

The EPA's proposed determination correctly concludes that this mega-mine would have " unacceptable adverse effects" on "an area of unparalleled ecological value, boasting salmon diversity and productivity unrivaled anywhere in North America." No wonder 80 percent of Bristol Bay residents oppose the Pebble Mine.

The science is in and the results are clear: The Pebble Mine would have unacceptable adverse effects on the Bristol Bay area and its people. The EPA has earned my sincere thanks for its proposal to prohibit any mining-related discharges from the Pebble deposit that would destroy or degrade significant salmon habitat. For the sake of present and future generations, I urge you to follow through with strong final action.
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Schroder
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PostThu Aug 21, 2014 8:57 pm 
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gb wrote:
home of some of the largest salmon runs in SE Alaska

Minor correction - Bristol Bay is in Western Alaska.

This is the largest salmon run in the world and this mine is in the tributaries to Lake Iliamna, which then flows out the Kvichak River, traditionally the river of the largest segment of the Bristol Bay Sockeye.  They had a run this year of almost 20 million.
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Ancient Ambler
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PostFri Aug 22, 2014 6:20 am 
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Comments on the EPA's proposed determination are due by 8 PM (Alaska time) September 19, 2014.

EPA's 8-page Fact Sheet (pdf) on their proposed determination is  here.

EPA's info on how to submit comments and a link to submit your comments electronically are here.
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mountainsandsound
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PostTue Sep 16, 2014 6:59 pm 
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Bump for this.  A few days left to comment if you'd still like to.

I thought this PBS Frontline documentary on the subject was pretty interesting and informative:

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/alaska-gold/
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gb
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PostWed Sep 17, 2014 10:37 am 
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I sent this to the EPA and as a chain letter to many friends:

Please Adopt Strong Final Restrictions to Protect Bristol Bay (RE: EPA-R10-OW-2014-0505)

What is the value of a sustainable fishery that will go on in perpetuity environmentally, economically, and for the health of the population of US citizens since the value of salmon as a food and mineral source is well understood?

Fisheries Professor Quinn of the University of Washington “says that if you were to pick the worst place in the world to have a project like this, this would be it”.

Not only would the mine draw down the water table impacting the vitality of the Bristol Bay Salmon run and fishery but there is serious likelihood that leaching of mine tailing poisons could be disastrous to Sockeye fish and fisheries.

The huge tailings pond reservoirs and dams would be a huge liability indefinitely and runs the risk of devastation that could dwarf the recent Chilko Lake and Fraser Sockeye fishery disaster that the Prime Minister of British Columbia labelled the worst environmental catastrophe in the province.

It is highly unlikely that the tailings pond and treatment can be engineered to a high enough level that long term health of the environment around Lake Iliamna, given the risk of natural failure as in Chilko Lake, the risk of earthquakes, and hydrological events that could overwhelm the system.

The health of the Bristol Bay salmon run and value of the fishery could be seriously impacted for ever.

There is also the impact on Native American populations. It is, afterall, the action of Native Americans that petitioned the EPA to seriously look into the Pebble Mine project.

The Pebble Mine is a very bad idea for many reasons and should be blocked or severely restricted. This mine’s environmental impact is equally important to citizens of the entire US, not only the state of Alaska, since Sockeye salmon is such a valuable health resource to all the people of the United States.

http://www.regulations.gov/#!submitComment;D=EPA-R10-OW-2014-0505-0001
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MtnGoat
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PostWed Nov 26, 2014 10:54 am 
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On-again, off-again plans for the world's largest gold and copper mine could be back on again, after a federal judge in Alaska issued a preliminary injunction blocking the Environmental Protection Agency from its ongoing efforts to bury the project.

Pebble Partnership, the Canadian company behind the project, which would take place near Anchorage, claims the regulatory agency has conspired illegally with opponents of the mine to devise scientific and environmental justifications for blocking it. Salmon fishermen in Washington state and Alaska, Native American groups and environmental organizations have opposed the massive project for several years, and had appeared to have gotten it scuttled prior to Tuesday's ruling by U.S. District Judge Russel Holland, in Anchorage



Good. It's no surprise the EPA would use under the table methods and astroturf advisory committees, just as it's head used fake email accounts to avoid accountability

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Diplomacy is the art of saying 'Nice doggie' until you can find a rock. - Will Rogers
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PostThu Aug 06, 2020 8:49 am 
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Under President Trump, the Environmental Protection Agency reversed an Obama-era decision to block the project, allowing an environmental review by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to proceed. The final version of the review, released last month, found that the project would not result in “long-term changes in the health of the commercial fisheries in Bristol Bay.” A decision to grant a permit to the project is expected in about a month.

However, Trump Jr disagrees with his Dad. The younger Trump and Nick Ayers, the former chief of staff to Vice President Mike Pence, tweeted Tuesday their opposition to final government approval of the Pebble Mine, a vast gold and copper mine to be dug near salmon fisheries not far from the pristine Bristol Bay in Alaska.

“This should be stopped and I believe @POTUS will do so!” Ayers wrote.

“As a sportsman who has spent plenty of time in the area I agree 100%” with Ayers, the younger Trump tweeted to his 5.4 million followers. “The headwaters of Bristol Bay and the surrounding fishery are too unique and fragile to take any chances with. #PebbleMine.”

It doesn't look like Trump Jr is going to get what he wants.

https://www.seattletimes.com/nation-world/its-trump-jr-vs-trump-sr-over-an-alaskan-mineral-mine/
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altasnob
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PostFri Aug 07, 2020 8:32 am 
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The somewhat conservative Seattle Times Editorial Board opposition to Pebble Mine:

https://www.seattletimes.com/opinion/editorials/to-preserve-bristol-bay-stop-the-permit-for-pebble-mine/
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rubywrangler
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PostSat Aug 22, 2020 7:37 pm 
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holy crap

Trump set to block controversial Alaska gold mine
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altasnob
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PostMon Aug 24, 2020 8:44 am 
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From NY Times:

The Army Corps of Engineers will impose new demands for mitigating environmental damage from a vast proposed copper and gold mine in Alaska, potentially delaying approvals for the project beyond the presidential election.

The Corps is expected to send a letter on Monday to the developers of the Pebble Mine project, these people said, adding that it will not issue a permit until the company presents plans to protect an area in the surrounding watershed, a critical breeding ground for salmon, equal in size to the acreage that the mine would damage.

Some say this will end the project but Mark Meadows, the White House chief of staff, has reassured Pebble Mine officials that the move will not scuttle the project

https://nyti.ms/2E8tRof
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Ski
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PostMon Aug 24, 2020 10:30 am 
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yeah well... Mr. Meadows is most likely polishing up his resume' right now....

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