Press Release May 12, 2017

EPA Favors Mining Over Salmon, Parks and People in Pebble Mine Settlement

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) reversed its previous science-backed ruling surrounding the proposed gold and copper mine for the Bristol Bay region, just 15 miles from Lake Clark National Park and Preserve. The Bristol Bay watershed supports the world’s largest sockeye salmon fishery.

WASHINGTON – Today, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) reversed its previous science-backed ruling surrounding the proposed Pebble Mine. Instead, the agency will now allow for a permitting and approval process. The Alaska gold and copper mine is proposed for the Bristol Bay region, just 15 miles from the boundary to Lake Clark National Park and Preserve. The Bristol Bay watershed supports the world’s largest sockeye salmon fishery.

The proposed Pebble Mine in the Bristol Bay watershed could cover an area larger than Manhattan. Billed as the largest open pit gold and copper mine in North America, its waste would fill a major football stadium up to 3,900 times. Polls show that the majority of Alaskans oppose the Pebble Mine.

Lake Clark National Park and Preserve was created in 1980 to protect a portion of Bristol Bay’s one-of-a-kind ecosystem and the local, traditional subsistence lifestyles so closely tied to wild salmon.

Statement by Jim Adams, Alaska Regional Director for National Parks Conservation Association

“National Parks Conservation Association is deeply concerned by the EPA’s action to allow the Pebble Mine proposal to advance. In its previous science-backed analysis, the EPA noted the Pebble Mine would ‘cause irreversible damage to one of the world’s last intact salmon ecosystems.’

“In the settlement announcement, EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt commented that the agency is committed to ‘regulations that are ‘regular’. What is regular about sacrificing the world’s largest sockeye salmon fishery for the benefit of foreign-backed mining corporations?

“Our members of Congress designated Lake Clark National Park and Preserve to protect a portion of the Bristol Bay ecosystem’s health and productivity. However, such protections could be compromised by mining activity upstream and near the park’s boundary. NPCA believes such threats to wild salmon and the people and wildlife who depend on them do not belong in the headwaters of Bristol Bay and upstream of our national park.”

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About National Parks Conservation Association: Since 1919, the nonpartisan National Parks Conservation Association has been the leading voice in safeguarding our national parks. NPCA and its more than one million members and supporters work together to protect and preserve our nation’s natural, historic, and cultural heritage for future generations. For more information, visit www.npca.org.