Fish Radio
April 30, 2013

 Bristol Bay would be harmed by large mine, says EPA

Sockeye Pie Chart Credit: Nature Conservancy

Sockeye Pie Chart
Credit: Nature Conservancy

 This is Fish Radio. I’m Laine Welch … Big mines and salmon don’t mix at Bristol Bay says the EPA.  More after this —

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The proposed Pebble Mine would put the world’s largest sockeye salmon resource at risk. That’s the conclusion of a revised 2012 Bristol Bay Watershed Assessment Report released by the Environmental Protection Agency last Friday.  Mine opponents called on the EPA to use its authority to stop the issuance of permits under the Clean Water Act.  

The report concludes again that developing one of the largest mines on earth  at the  headwaters of Bristol Bay would ruin nearly 5,000 acres of wetlands, and destroy spawning and rearing habitat, including 90 miles of streams.  Regional Administrator Dennis McLerran  –  

Cut: The EPA has made no decision about if or how it might use its authority under the Clean Water Act or other laws to protect Bristol Bay. This is an assessment, a scientific document and this is a release for additional comment and review of that scientific document. 4

The report will now undergo a new round of peer review and public comment before the EPA releases findings that could affect Pebble permitting decisions, set to begin later this year.  In response, Pebble Partnership CEO John Shively criticized the EPA for evaluating what he calls a “completely hypothetical mine plan”  instead of waiting until a real plan is submitted to.   Senator Lisa Murkowski called it a “flawed document” and the EPA process “unacceptable.” Senator Mark Begich said he opposes   pre-emptive vetoes of any project but that he looks forward to reviewing the assessment.

Meanwhile, the public can comment on the Bristol Bay Watershed Assessment Report through May 31.  EPA Administer McClellan says it is important to reach as many people as possible before they go fishing.

Cut: We realize that folks up  in Bristol bay have a fishing season, that they get underway in the summertime so getting it out and being able to have a public comment period that commence now ans was completed at the end of May would allow us to get this out for public review and comment in advance of the peak of the fishing season. 2

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Read the report and submit your comments here.