EARTHWORKS

EPA could save America's waters and fisheries by taking strong action on mining

Jennifer Krill's avatar
By Jennifer Krill

January 20, 2011

Bristol Bay, Alaska. Click to see full size versions of this any many more on the National Geographic website.Last week the EPA stepped into a leadership position by revoking the water permit for the Spruce No. 1 Mine in West Virginia, recognizing that mountaintop removal coal mining causes irreparable damage to America's waterways. This campaign came after years of struggle against the intractable coal industry, and great work from our allies the Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition, Coal River Mountain Watch, Appalachian Voices, Rainforest Action Network, the Sierra Club, and many others.

Bristol Bay, Alaska. Click to see full size versions of this any many more on the National Geographic website.Last week the EPA stepped into a leadership position by revoking the water permit for the Spruce No. 1 Mine in West Virginia, recognizing that mountaintop removal coal mining causes irreparable damage to America's waterways. This campaign came after years of struggle against the intractable coal industry, and great work from our allies the Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition, Coal River Mountain Watch, Appalachian Voices, Rainforest Action Network, the Sierra Club, and many others.

The EPA's move to protect Appalachian streams sends a hopeful signal far northward to the struggle to protect Bristol Bay, Alaska from the proposed largest strip mine in North America, the Pebble Mine. The EPA could exercise its authority to protect water by denying the permit for the Pebble Mine to dump toxic mine waste into the headwaters of the world's largest remaining wild salmon fishery. Nearly one-third of all of Alaska's salmon harvest earnings come from Bristol Bay, and the mine faces overwhelming local opposition. In addition to the biologically-rich waters, the way of life for traditional Yup'ik Eskimos are threatened by the proposed mine.

If the EPA can protect Appalachian waters, then it can protect Alaska's waters and the livelihoods of those who depend on them too.

Tagged with: water, toxics, pebble, no dirty gold, alaska

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