EPA takes next step to protect Bristol Bay from the Pebble Mine

Media Contacts

ANCHORAGE, Alaska — The Environmental Protection Agency issued a recommendation on Thursday to restrict the use of certain Bristol Bay headwaters as a disposal site for dredge and fill materials, effectively preventing the proposed Pebble Mine from moving forward. This comes after a national effort this past summer when environmental advocacy groups, commercial fishers, restaurants, anglers and outdoor stores generated more than half a million comments in favor of protecting this important watershed and salmon-breeding grounds in southwestern Alaska. This is the first time the EPA has reached this step in the fight to stop the Pebble Mine. The final step of the process is for the EPA to finalize the determination. 

In response, environmental advocates from Environment Alaska and Environment America made the following statements:

“Bristol Bay is home to one of the last strong salmon runs in the world. To keep it that way, we must ensure the headwaters remain free of mining, dams and other destructive industrial activities,” said Alaska Environment State Director Dyani Chapman. “The whole ecosystem, including bears, birds, walruses, whales and freshwater-dwelling seals, depend on the salmon, and the salmon depend on healthy water. Local residents, scientists and the broader public all agree that this is quite simply a bad place for a mine and it is past time for the EPA to take Pebble off the table permanently. I’m glad the EPA has taken this next step, and look forward to the administration finalizing protections in the new year.”

“The fight against the Pebble Mine has been raging for decades, and in that time the public has taken over four million actions to protect Bristol Bay” said Environment American Public Lands Director Ellen Montgomery. “Across the globe, we are losing more nature every minute, and we must protect the places we still have. It’s past time to finalize protections for Bristol Bay and now we all look forward to the EPA issuing strong and permanent protections for Bristol Bay.”