EARTHblog » Bonnie Gestring
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.
July 18, 2014
Today, the EPA released its long-awaited plan for restricting mine waste disposal in Alaska's Bristol Bay watershed - a crucial step towards protecting the world's most proflific wild salmon fishery and the 14,000 hardworking fishermen who depend on it. Alaska Native Tribes and commercial fishermen petitioned the EPA to use its authority to protect the fishery in 2010.
"It's been a long time coming," said Luki Akelkok, chairman of Nunamta Aulukestai, an association of ten Native Tribes and corporations, in a press release today.