January 22, 2014
The final version of the EPA's Bristol Bay Assessment refines what the agency's work concluded before: Development of the Pebble copper and gold prospect will destroy salmon habitat in the headwaters of the richest salmon fishery on Earth.
If Pebble is developed, Alaskans will be trading some salmon for gold and copper. Despite the claims of some, including Gov. Sean Parnell and Sen. Lisa Murkowski, that they would never trade one resource for another, Pebble requires a measure of trade.
The question is, how much salmon would Alaska have to give up, and for what benefits from copper and gold?
The EPA's report makes clear that even routine mining -- without any catastrophic failures -- and its attendant operations on the scale of Pebble would destroy salmon streams, leach contaminants into the surroundings and require exceptional monitoring and vigilance for generations.