Pebble takes a dangerous step forward

Bristol Bay sockeye salmon. Photo by FlyOut Media
By Nelli Williams
Yesterday, the Army Corps of Engineers released a document, called the Draft Environmental Impact Statement, intended to outline the risks and benefits of the proposed Pebble Mine, after an extremely rushed and non-transparent process. Edit: the comment period is now open! Comment today. 
For more than 15 years, the Pebble Mine has been the proverbial dark cloud hanging on the horizon in Bristol Bay, Alaska. The communities, businesses, anglers and seafood lovers that care about this area have endured years of misleading advertising campaigns and more than a decade of broken promises from the Pebble Partnership, a Canadian owned company who has never developed a mine before.
So, it’s no surprise that the 1,400+ page document landed with a pretty heavy thud here in Alaska. You can read Trout Unlimited’s press release here and story in the Anchorage Daily News here.
Tom Collier, the CEO of the Pebble Partnership claims in a glowing press release that this document proves they "will not harm the fish and water resources in Bristol Bay."
Another one of many Bristol Bay monsters. Photo by Pat Ford
But, Alaskans and fishermen and women are filled with skepticism, and rightly so. A quick skim of the document shows Pebble's proposal would permanently destroy more than 80 miles of streams, and 3500 of acres of wetlands.
Most of us who have been paying attention to this, see through Pebble’s current mine plan for what it is: the first step in what would become an industrial mining district in Bristol Bay, the economics don’t pan out any other way. That’s why a majority of Alaskans still oppose the proposed Pebble mine.
We are also skeptical that this process, which should be held to the highest standards, can be robust when rushed through on a timeline that seems driven by something other what's in the best interests of Alaskans and Americans.
Together, we’ve successfully defended Bristol Bay from this shortsighted proposal to build a mine in the heart of salmon country. With the release of the Draft EIS out, Pebble Mine got one step closer to reality.
Fortunately, the widespread, unwavering opposition to this mine, coupled with thorough scientific and legal review, is our best and most important line of defense right now. So while we know you’ve done it before, we need you once again to speak up and demand that Bristol Bay remains the wild, productive place it is today for future generations.
We will have more information available in the coming days, and a nation-wide, important public comment period will be open from March 1-May 31.
Here is how you can help right now:

Thank you for (once again) pitching in and standing up for the cold, fish-filled rivers of Bristol Bay.

Nelli Williams is the Alaska director for Trout Unlimited. She lives in Anchorage.


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