SEATTLE - Now that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has begun the yearlong process that could lead to halting construction on the controversial Pebble Mine, stakeholders in Alaska’s bountiful Bristol Bay are weighing in.
There is celebration over what could be possible protection for the world’s most productive sockeye salmon fishery. There is wariness about a process that could impede progress on the largest open pit mine in North America.
And there is also a lot of anger up in the Last Frontier, where many of the region’s deeply independent residents bristle at what they view as the federal government’s meddling in their affairs. This is Alaska, the sentiment goes, and we can take care of our own.
Various stakeholders, in their own words, speak out:
The Environmental Protection Agency: “Extensive scientific study has given us ample reason to believe that the Pebble Mine would likely have significant and irreversible negative impacts on the Bristol Bay watershed and its abundant salmon fisheries.” – Gina McCarthy, administrator, EPA
“Mining the Pebble deposit will involve excavation of the largest open pit ever constructed in North America, completely destroying an area as large as 18 square kilometers and as deep as 1.24 kilometers. Disposal of waste material will require construction of up to three waste impoundemnts covering an additional 50 square kilometers.” – Dennis J. McLerran, regional administrator, EPA