EPA finalizes protections for Bristol Bay from the Pebble Mine

Media Contacts

ANCHORAGE, Alaska — The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued a final determination on Tuesday 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, Tribes, restaurants, anglers,  and outdoor stores generated more than half a million comments in favor of protecting the important watershed and salmon-breeding grounds in southwest Alaska. Local communities and advocacy groups have been fighting the Pebble Mine for over two decades. 

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

“The headwaters of Bristol Bay are, quite simply, a really bad place for a mine, and I’m thrilled that the EPA is effectively preventing the open-pit Pebble Mine. The region is home to an incredible range of wildlife and remains healthy because it’s been spared a lot of the harsher touches of industrialization,” said Alaska Environment State Director Dyani Chapman. “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. This EPA determination is a long-awaited win for Sockeye Salmon and the entire Bristol Bay region.”

“We are so excited that the Biden administration has fulfilled their campaign promise to provide protections for Bristol Bay,” said Environment American Public Lands Director Ellen Montgomery. “Around the world, we are losing the equivalent of a football field worth of nature every minute. With this decision, thankfully, the headwaters of Bristol Bay won’t be added to that tally.”