Need Your Help to Stop Pebble Mine. Yes, again.
Immediate Action Items
1. Please click here to send a note to the White House and Congress – yes, again – asking them to do all they can to stop Pebble in the permitting process.
2. If you’re a twitter user, please retweet Donald Trump Jr’s tweet here.
The Next Step in the Fight for Bristol Bay
Per Trout Unlimited, “The fight against the proposed Pebble mine has reached another critical milestone with the release of the Final Environmental Impact Statement (Final EIS) on Thursday, July 23, 2020.
Produced by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the Final EIS is the risk analysis document that should review all the potential impacts the project could bring to the people, fish, and fish-based economies in southwest Alaska. More importantly, the Final EIS serves as the basis for the record of decision, which will grant or deny Pebble its most important federal permit. This decision could come as soon as August 19, 2020.
In 2019, Trout Unlimited, multiple federal and state agencies, and 685,000 individuals submitted comments on the Draft Environmental Impact Statement, all noting the inadequacies in the Corps’ initial document. Alaska Senators Lisa Murkowski and Dan Sullivan even weighed in, saying that if the Corps doesn’t address all the issues raised in agency comments in the Final EIS, they should not issue the permit.
Even from reading the executive summary, it is clear that the Corps has not evaluated Pebble beyond a conceptual level plan, and hasn’t fully accounted for every way Pebble would impact Bristol Bay, which is a failure of their duties under the Clean Water Act.
With a record of decision issued possibly this month, we are nearly at the end of the permitting process. We’ve called on the Army Corps, our Senators, and even the President to stop Pebble, and now they need to hear from people from across the country again.”
Bristol Bay Area
- The Bristol Bay fishery is a $1.5 billion annual economy that supports over 15,000 jobs for lodge owners, guides, commercial fishermen, fish processors, tourism operators and more.
- The Bristol Bay fishery is the most prolific sockeye salmon fishery on the planet. More than 50% of the world’s catch of sockeye salmon comes from Bristol Bay alone.
- Bristol Bay is one of the most sought after sport fishing destinations, attracting anglers from around the world.
- There are 31 federally recognized Yup’ik, Dena’ina, and Alutiiq tribes in the region that depend on salmon to support their traditional ways of life.
Overwhelming Reasons to Oppose
- Alaskans overwhelmingly oppose the proposed copper and gold mine at a rate of ~60%. This opposition has stayed relatively constant over the last decade.
- If fully developed, Pebble Mine could produce 10.2 billion tons of toxic waste that will be stored at the headwaters of Bristol Bay forever. Even a small amount of the poisonous acid and toxic waste runoff from the mine will destroy the salmon habitat and the Alaskans who rely on it. And taxpayers will be left with the bill to clean up the destruction.
- Pebble is not economically feasible; economists estimate the mine will lose $3 billion in its first 20 years. To be profitable, a mine of much greater magnitude will be developed, and the devastating environmental impacts will be even worse than what was originally proposed.
Permit Review Process and FEIS Questionable
- The Army Corps of Engineers has issued the Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) for the proposed Pebble mine. This concludes the review process for the proposed mine.
- The FEIS will be used to issue a record of decision on if Pebble will be given the green light to dig in the headwaters of Bristol Bay. The Army Corps of Engineers could make this decision in few weeks.
- The FEIS confirms that Pebble will destroy 185 miles of streams and over 4000 acres of wetlands. The document is also largely incomplete, meaning these impacts are likely underestimated.
Quotes from Conservation Advocates
- “Granting this permit would hand over the keys to America’s most valuable salmon fishery to a foreign-owned company with no history of successfully developing or operating a mine. The proposed Pebble mine represents not only a direct threat to the fishery, but also a significant threat to the outdoor economy and commercial fishing industry, which so many businesses and communities in Bristol Bay and nationally rely on for financial security. If we care about American jobs, industry, environment, and culture, the only reasonable option at this point is to deny the permit.” Simon Perkins, president of The Orvis Company
- “This process has outlined significant destruction of critical fish habitat and it is acknowledged by the Army Corps that the likelihood of expansion is highly probable, thus making the current plan unrealistic. The document also assumes that Pebble will be able to cross private lands, which, as of now, it does not have the permission to do. If this administration wants to uphold rural American jobs, then the only option is to deny this permit.” Brian Kraft, president of Katmai Service Providers, which represents dozens of sportfishing and tourism businesses in Bristol Bay.
- “The Bristol Bay region is the crown jewel of America’s fishing. It’s an economic powerhouse. All we need to do to keep it intact is to have the wisdom to leave it alone.” Chris Wood, CEO of Trout Unlimited