JUNEAU — Build-out of a large-scale mine near the headwaters of a world-class salmon fishery in Alaska could wipe out as many as 90 miles of streams and alter stream flows, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said in a revised assessment released Friday.
The report said mining activity would claim at least 24 miles of streams in the Bristol Bay region, based on the scenarios evaluated, with the loss of wetlands ranging from 1,200 to 4,800 acres.
The EPA focused on the Pebble deposit and took into account information related to the proposed Pebble Mine but also noted the potential for multiple mines in the region, given the resource base, which it said would lead to further elimination or blocking of streams and wetland losses.
EPA initiated the review process in response to concerns raised by tribes and others about the impact large-scale mining could have on Bristol Bay fisheries. Critics of the EPA review — including the Pebble Limited Partnership, the group behind the proposed Pebble Mine — fear it could lead to the agency vetoing mining activity in the region.
Pebble Partnership CEO John Shively said the review was unnecessary, flawed and "consistent with the demands of those who want to deny the Pebble Partnership the right to submit a permit application."
The Alaska Department of Law also issued a statement.
"We believe the assessment is premature, as well as any action EPA might take based upon it," the state agency said. "Any consideration of impacts should be made within the context of an actual proposal and a Clean Water Act Section 404 permit application."
Read the full story at the Juneau Empire>>
National Fisherman Live: 11/06/14
In this episode:
NOAA report touts 2013 landings, value increases
Panama fines GM salmon company Aquabounty
Gulf council passes Reef Fish Amendment 40
Maine elver quota cut by 2,000 pounds
Offshore mussel farm would be East Coast’s first
NOAA and its fellow Natural Resource Damage Assessment trustees in the Deepwater Horizon oil spill have announced the signing of a formal Record of Decision to implement a gulf restoration plan. The 44 projects, totaling an estimated $627 million, will restore barrier islands, shorelines, dunes, underwater grasses and oyster beds.