STATEMENT: Alaska sues EPA to reverse Bristol Bay protections

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ANCHORAGE, Alaska — The State of Alaska on Tuesday filed a lawsuit in the U.S. Supreme Court contesting the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s January decision to restrict the use of certain Bristol Bay headwaters as a disposal site for dredge and fill materials, effectively preventing the proposed Pebble Mine project from proceeding. That decision came after a multi-decade, bipartisan effort that culminated last summer when Indigenous Tribes, environmental advocacy groups, commercial fishers, restaurants, anglers and outdoor recreation business owners generated more than half a million comments in favor of protecting the important watershed and salmon-breeding grounds in southwest Alaska. 

In response, Alaska Environment State Director Dyani Chapman made the following statement:

“The headwaters of Bristol Bay are, quite simply, a really bad place for a mine. The region is home to an incredible range of wildlife and remains healthy because it’s been spared a lot of the harsher impacts of industrialization. Over the past 20 years, scientists, the local Indigenous communities, fishermen and broader public have asked repeatedly for strong and permanent protections for Bristol Bay. The EPA decision to protect this area was a long-awaited win for sockeye salmon and the entire Bristol Bay region. The majority of Alaskans agree Bristol Bay is the wrong place for an open-pit mine the size of Manhattan. We urge Governor Dunleavy and his administration to heed the science, listen to the people and let the EPA’s decision stand.”