Press Release Jul 30, 2019

EPA Abandons Science, Clears Way for Pebble Mine near Alaska’s Bristol Bay

"The Trump Administration is putting America last in making it easier for a foreign mining company to endanger the world’s greatest wild salmon fishery and the iconic brown bears of Katmai and Lake Clark National Parks” -- NPCA's Jim Adams.

WASHINGTON – Today, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) withdrew its proposed protections for Alaska’s Bristol Bay, from the proposed Pebble Mine. The withdrawal rejects science and enables the Army Corps of Engineers to advance its inadequate analysis of what would be the largest gold and copper mine in North America.

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

“In removing commonsense protections for the Bristol Bay watershed, the Trump Administration abandoned peer-reviewed science and years of outreach with tribes and Alaskan communities. Today’s action will pave the way for the largest gold and copper mine in North America, threatening fish, wildlife and our national parks. The Trump Administration is putting America last in making it easier for a foreign mining company to endanger the world’s greatest wild salmon fishery and the iconic brown bears of Katmai and Lake Clark National Parks.”

Background: The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) began a scientific assessment of the impacts of large-scale mining in Bristol Bay in 2011. The assessment, which was informed and improved by peer review from scientists, consultation with 20 tribes, and more than 1.1 million public comments, drove EPA’s decision to issue a proposed determination that the proposed Pebble Mine would have “unacceptable adverse effects” on the watershed.

In 2017, then EPA Director Pruitt considered withdrawing the proposed determination but concluded that there was no information justifying the withdrawal after receiving over 500,000 comments opposing the withdrawal.

Katmai and Lake Clark National Parks are located in the Bristol Bay watershed and provide habitat for brown bears that rely on a healthy salmon fishery. Bristol Bay salmon are a 1.5 billion-dollar commercial and sport fishing industry.Many Alaska Native communities also depend on Bristol Bay salmon for subsistence needs as they have for millennia.

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About National Parks Conservation Association: For 100 years, the nonpartisan National Parks Conservation Association has been the leading voice in safeguarding our national parks. NPCA and its more than 1.3 million members and supporters work together to protect and preserve our nation’s most iconic and inspirational places for future generations. For more information, visit www.npca.org/100.