Another Nail in the Pebble Mine Coffin

Bristol Bay, AK | © Bob Waldrop

Bristol Bay, AK | © Bob Waldrop

Today, on the eve of the release of our annual report on America’s Most Endangered Rivers®, we are pleased to share that the Bristol Bay Rivers in Alaska are one step closer to a full victory over the Pebble Mine. Yesterday, Rio Tinto, a global mining company, announced that it would be divesting its 19.1% interest in the Pebble Mine Project, and donating its shares to the Alaska Community Foundation and the Bristol Bay Native Corporation Education Foundation.

Following Anglo American’s departure from the project last September, this means that no company who has done any mining is actually still invested in the project at this time.

You’ll recall that the rivers of Bristol Bay were listed as one of America’s Most Endangered Rivers® of 2011, due to the potential water contamination that would likely result from a massive gold and copper mine, if built. Then recently, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced that it would be initiating a process under the Clean Water Act to identify appropriate options for protecting the vitally important salmon runs in this area. 

This latest move by Rio Tinto doesn’t mean the project is dead, but it is certainly one more nail in the coffin for Pebble Mine. We are hoping that the EPA uses its authority under the Clean Water Act to stop the project for good.

Please join us in telling EPA to use their authority under the Clean Water Act to stop Pebble Mine permanently!

Also, join us tomorrow to see what other projects should be on your radar, with the release of America’s Most Endangered Rivers® of 2014! See you then!

3 Responses to “Another Nail in the Pebble Mine Coffin”

Micky Rasmus

This is very good news! The plan called for a holding pool full of toxic stuff in an earthquake zone very near one of the most abundant salmon spawning areas in our country.

Janet Shellman Sherman

It is important that mining concerns, such as the Rio Tinto, be thwarted from developing critical riparian habitat and water shed of the Pebble Mine. Mining actively, here, will pollute a critical aquifer and estuary and wreck local as well as downstream habitat. Let us stop, finally, the type of type of piece-meal-fragmentation that is already scientifically recognized as the most destructive form of development. Secretary Sally Jewel has provided us with a vision for our 50 United States: Smart Use and Smart Preservation of lands, and neither the two shall mix. In other words, develop and co-develop lands for resource use on lands that appropriately can handle development, while reserve and preserve lands that are not suitable for development due to great sustainability of wildlife and fishery habitat that will be achieved by its preservation.

Here is an area we can agree is best classified for Smart Preservation. This Alaska reserve,like much of our upper Northwest (Oregon, Washington, Utah) is still largely pristine and ‘remains the last of our great consortium of American Wildlife and Fishery habitats’. We MUST adopt a Smart vision! Smart Use, Smart Reserve, and make the commitment to avoid piece meal allocation of land avoiding the poor excuse of historical precedent. I support Secretary Interior Jewel’s vision of land-block usage and land-block preservation. Let us make this tract of land a preserve for future for generations to come!