EARTHblog » Bonnie Gestring
September 26, 2014
Today, Judge Holland of the U.S. District Court tossed out the Pebble Limited Partnership’s lawsuit against the EPA. Pebble sought to stop the EPA from using its authority under Section 404(c) of the Clean Water Act to restrict mine waste dumping from the proposed Pebble Mine in Alaska’s Bristol Bay watershed. Read the court decision here.
The judge ruled that the lawsuit was premature because the EPA hasn’t issued a final decision yet. The EPA initiated the 404(c) process after Alaska Native Tribes and commercial fishermen petitioned the agency in 2010 to step in to protect the Bristol Bay fishery, which is central to the culture and regional economy. The EPA has announced that it will make a final decision by February 2015. Earthworks submitted an amicus brief in support of the EPA, urging the Judge to dismiss the case. Read the press release here.
In the meantime, there is enormous local, state and national support for the EPA to issue a final decision and protect the Bristol Bay watershed from the Pebble Mine. The public comment period on the EPA’s plans for limiting mine waste disposal into the Bristol Bay watershed closed last week (Sept. 19th), with a flood of public comments supporting the EPA’s proposal.
Altogether, the EPA has received roughly 1.5 million comments on behalf of protecting the Bristol Bay fishery – demonstrating the overwhelming public support for protecting the largest wild salmon fishery on Earth.
August 6, 2014
This week’s devastating tailings dam failure at the Mount Polley copper mine in British Columbia released vast amounts of mine waste into streams, rivers and lakes in the headwaters of the Fraser River watershed. It will be some time before we know the full consequences of this mine failure, but it’s impossible not to draw comparisons with the proposed Pebble Mine in Alaska’s Bristol Bay. Both mines are large, open pit, copper porphyry mines at the headwaters of important salmon streams.
Ironically, the Pebble Limited Partnership (PLP), the company behind the proposed Pebble Mine, has repeatedly pointed to the Fraser River as a watershed where mining and fish can coexist. Check out this video.
Even more so, Knight Piesold, the firm that provided designs for the tailings pond lifts at Mount Polley, also provided the designs for the tailings pond for the proposed Pebble Mine that PLP submitted to Alaska regulators.