National Fisherman


WASHINGTON -- Supporters of the embattled Pebble Mine project in Alaska are making a desperate effort in Congress and the courts to keep it alive in the face of warnings from the Environmental Protection Agency that it could devastate the finest run of wild salmon left on the globe.

Members of the U.S. House of Representatives are pushing a bill to keep the EPA from blocking the mine, despite opposition from Washington state lawmakers who say the project could be devastating to the fishing industry in their state.The mine developer, Northern Dynasty Minerals, is suing the EPA, seeking an injunction to prevent the agency from moving to stop the project.

The developer is in trouble. Mining giants Anglo American and Rio Tinto pulled out of the project in the midst of the controversy, leaving Northern Dynasty scrambling for another partner to provide financial support for the mine. Getting the EPA to back off would help.

After a long series of setbacks, the mine won a small victory Wednesday when the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee approved the bill for a vote in the full House.

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Inside the Industry

The Southeast Alaska Fishermen’s Alliance recently announced that the National Marine Sanctuary Foundation has awarded the organization a Hollings Grant to reduce whale entanglements in Alaska salmon fisheries by increasing the use of acoustic whale pingers to minimize entanglements in fishing gear.

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Last week, Alaska senators Lisa Murkowski (R), Dan Sullivan (R) and Rep. Don Young (R) asked Secretary of State John Kerry to negotiate with Canadian leaders to make sure appropriate environmental safeguards are in place for mine development in Southeast Alaska.

The congressional delegation explained the importance of this issue to Alaskans and the need for assurances that the water quality in transboundary waters between Alaska and Canada will be maintained.

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