Alaska: Lawsuits Pile Up Over EPA’s Green Light for Mine Near Pristine Bristol Bay
(CN) – A proposed open-pit gold and copper mine approved by the federal government faces considerable legal pushback from Alaskan environmental and fishing groups, claiming the project would taint the watershed for local wildlife, including starving the headwaters that sustain the world’s largest wild salmon run.
Bristol Bay spans some 40,000 square miles and includes two national parks, and its salmon are critically linked to the Alaskan culture and economy – generating over $1 billion annually. The proposed Pebble Mine near the remote village of Dillingham in southwestern Alaska would industrialize the waterways and negatively impact the region’s economy, according to multiple federal complaints filed against the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and its chief staff this week.
The plaintiffs claim the proposed mining operation would destroy thousands of acres of surrounding habitat and choke miles of salmon stream.