Plans for the largest open-pit mine in North America threaten one of Alaska's wildest national parks and the region’s thriving fisheries.
Lake Clark National Park and Preserve in Alaska is one of our wildest national parks. It protects the headwaters of the Kvichak and Nushagak Rivers that flow into Bristol Bay, home to a $2 billion fishing industry. Wild salmon feed generations of families in the region, play an essential role in the ecosystem and anchor the local economy.
But mining companies could build the largest open-pit mine in North America dangerously close to this important habitat. The development, known as Pebble Mine, would threaten the world’s largest wild sockeye salmon fishery and the people who depend on the land, water and fish.
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If built as originally proposed, Pebble Mine would be larger than the size of Manhattan and operate just 15 miles from Lake Clark, posing serious risks to the region’s water, fish, families and jobs. 10 billion tons of tailings — toxic residue from ore — would be stored behind high-risk dams. In 2012, the Environmental Protection Agency warned that “mining the Pebble deposit would cause irreversible damage to one of the world’s last intact salmon ecosystems.”
What’s worse, mining companies have staked claims across three additional large deposits covering 130,000 acres upstream of Lake Clark. If Pebble is developed, a mining district of 15 or more other mines and related infrastructure could follow. Operations on this scale could industrialize habitat, degrade water quality and spoil the wild quality of this region. Local Alaska Native communities struggling to maintain their traditional ways of life could find fewer fish and wildlife to harvest for their families.
Polls show that a majority of Alaskans oppose Pebble Mine and the threats it poses to the region. NPCA has stood with Alaskans for years, working to stop this dangerous proposal from becoming a reality.
In 2014, after thousands of people around the country voiced concerns to the Environmental Protection Agency against Pebble Mine, the agency placed strict, science-based limits on the project out of concern for the likely harm to the region’s waters. Developers sued the federal government, hoping to proceed with the mine. In May 2017, the EPA reversed their earlier decision in a settlement with developers that would allow the foreign-backed mining company two years to pursue permits for Pebble Mine.
NPCA is deeply disappointed that plans for this mine could proceed under current EPA leadership. We remain adamantly opposed to the project and will continue to work with allies and advocates to prevent the disastrous mine from harming this spectacular, untamed region of the country, its surrounding community and its vibrant sockeye salmon industry.
More than 15,000 Took Action to Stop Mine
Park advocates sent letters to EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt asking him to stop the Pebble Mine and protect Bristol Bay and Lake Clark National Park and Preserve!
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