Fish Radio

January 17, 2014

 Pebble Mine, reax to EPA

This is Fish Radio. I’m Laine Welch – Pebble Mine is a bad idea says the EPA. Reactions after this –

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Mining trucks hauling rock to/from an open pit mine on 4 lane roads

Mining trucks hauling rock to/from an open pit mine on 4 lane roads

 

The Environmental Protection Agency ruled this week that a large scale mine like Pebble would be “devastating”  to the world’s biggest salmon run and to the region’s culture.   

 The assessment is a final document. It will stand as the basis for the next steps that we make.  

 Dennis McLerran  is regional EPA director. The report concluded that Pebble could destroy nearly 100 miles of salmon streams and over 5,000 acres of wetlands, ponds and lakes.  

EPA Senior scientist Jeff Thrifsen

 Our calculations and estimates show that greater than 99 percent capture efficiency would be required to prevent exceedance of existing water quality criteria. It is unlikely that such a high capture efficiency could be routinely achieved over the lifetime of the mine. Uncollected leachates from waste rock piles and tailing storage facilities would elevate instream copper levels and cause direct effects on salmon.   

Fishermen hailed the decision. Bob Waldrop speaks for the 1,000-plus salmon drift fleet’s development association.

  The assessment is absolutely clear and now is unimpeachable. Mining in critical salmon habitat will severely impact salmon in Bristol Bay.   

Tim Bristol of Trout Unlimited/Alaska also applauded the EPA.  

 I think they have done a tremendous job — two rounds of analysis, two rounds of peer review incorporating all of the information they could possibly could from every source including Northern Dynasty and the Pebble Limited Partnership.    

Pebble CEO John Shively criticized the EPA report as not being “science based.”  

We have brought in some of the top experts  in the world to help us – fisheries experts, mining engineering experts, all of that is going into our work, and we are still not done with it, basically after a decade.  EPA has spent nowhere near that time and spent nowhere near the money and they just rushed through this and I think they had a predetermined outcome. 17

 Bristol Bay tribes asked the EPA in 2010 to use its authority under the Clean Water Act to ban large scale mining in the region.   The EPA’s McLerran says regulatory and policy decisions are next.

 A response to the tribes is what we are most concerned about developing next, and that process will begin immediately now that we do have   the scientific assessment in front of us. 8

 Thanks to the assist from KDLG/Dillingham.  www.kdlg.org

 Fish Radio is also brought to you by Ocean Beauty Seafoods – who salutes and says thanks to the men and women fishing across Alaska for their hard work and dedication. (www.oceanbeauty.com) In Kodiak, I’m Laine Welch.

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