There are times when I read things and I’m so shocked and saddened that I’m almost unable to move. That feeling is quickly replaced by hopelessness. But thankfully, hopelessness moves to action. And that’s where you come in. We need to make sure people know what’s going on.


Last spring, mining company CEO Tom Collier and the new head of the US Environmental Protection Agency, Scott Pruitt, met. After the meeting, the EPA director told his staff to withdraw the Obama era plan to protect the watershed of Bristol Bay, Alaska. 1 I swear some people aren’t going to be happy until they’ve destroyed every bit of our environment.

“In 2014, after three years of peer-reviewed study, the Obama administration’s EPA invoked a rarely used provision of the Clean Water Act to try to protect Bristol Bay after finding that a mine ‘would result in complete loss of fish habitat due to elimination, dewatering, and fragmentation of streams, wetlands, and other aquatic resources’ in some areas of the bay.”2

The watershed of Bristol Bay is regarded as one of the world’s most important salmon fisheries (IN THE WORLD), producing almost half of the world’s annual sockeye salmon catch. These resources also support 4,000-year-old indigenous cultures and about 14,000 full- and part-time jobs. Why on earth would they move to rescind its protection?

The meeting that took place on May 1 is not a done deal. And, while Pebble can submit plans to mine there, it doesn’t necessarily guarantee his plans (which he plans to file in December) will be approved. At this time, it’s unclear exactly what size mine the Pebble Partnership plans to propose.

Collier’s permit application will be for a mine “footprint” about 5 square miles in area. However, an EPA 2014 review of the potential mine operations found that the mine could be MUCH larger, maybe even “largest open-pit mine ever constructed in North America.”3 In actuality, the mine site could “cover an area the size of Manhattan. And the pit could be about 80% as deep as the Grand Canyon.”4


Sources and References

  1. CNN, September 22, 2017.
  2. CNN, September 22, 2017.
  3. CNN, September 22, 2017.
  4. CNN, September 22, 2017.