The EPA is scheduled to release its revised watershed assessment for the proposed Pebble Mine in Bristol Bay sometime this spring.
Conservation groups are stepping up the lobbying pressure in Washington in anticipation of the ruling.
There are a whole host of groups who oppose the Pebble Mine from the Bristol Bay Native Corporation down to independent subsistence fishermen.
But the sheer volume of mineral resources and the hundreds of billions of dollars in possible revenue have enticed many to support the mine.
“It’s a of a size that they’ve told their shareholders is three times bigger than the biggest mine in North America,” former Alaska State Senate President Rick Halford said at a happy hour outside of Washington, D.C. for conservationists.
The Republican has been an outspoken critic of the mine, saying there’s no way an open pit mine of Pebble’s magnitude could coincide with the world’s largest red salmon fishery.
Halford, who represented Chugiak in the state Senate, has both personal and commercial interests in Bristol Bay. He owns a cabin and runs an outfitter service in Western Alaska.
He says the Pebble Partnership needs to step forward and submit its application for a permit.
“Hiding behind the ‘we haven’t applied yet’ when they have the Wardrop Report that they’ve paid for and filed with the Security and Exchange Commission; when they have their water rights application that’s hundreds of pages long, to take all the water from in both forks of the Koktuli and Upper Talarik creek. They have a lot on paper,” Halford said.
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