Public Opinion Rising Against Pebble Mine

A final tally isn’t available yet, but the majority of
opinion offered to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on its draft
Bristol Bay watershed assessment rests firmly on the side of the fish, rather
than copper, gold and molybdenum.

The Bristol Bay Regional Seafood Development Association,
having taken a hard look at responses posted on the EPA’s website, noted that
as of June 28, 68 percent, or 362,235 of the 527,192 responses, felt that
development of the foreign-owned Pebble prospect would threaten habitat of the
Bristol Bay sockeye salmon fishery.

“This is an incredible victory for Bristol Bay, with
hundreds of thousands of people across the United States recognizing that
Bristol Bay’s jobs, economy and way of life shouldn’t be risked by a massive
open-pit mine that could destroy this sustainable fishing industry, and the
14,000 jobs it supports,” said Bob Waldrop, executive director of the Bristol
Bay Regional Seafood Development Association. “The results of two comment
periods show that Americans want the federal government to act quickly to keep
dangerous projects like the Pebble mine out of Bristol Bay.”

The Pebble Limited Partnership(PLP), with offices in
Anchorage, is a joint venture of London-based Anglo American plc, and Northern
Dynasty Minerals Ltd., based in Vancouver, British Columbia.

The PLP maintains that it can develop and operate the mine
in harmony with the multi-million dollar fishery critical to commercial, sport
and subsistence users, as well as wildlife in Southwest Alaska. The PLP wants
to move forward with the permitting process and get started with its project,
which it says will provide jobs and put a lot of money in state tax coffers.

But the EPA’s draft watershed document, that was open for
public comment through June 30, says that even under routine operation, the
mine could result in 90 miles of streams blocked or eliminated and 4,800 acres
of wetlands destroyed. This alone would have an adverse impact on water quality
and habitat, and if a leak or spill of mine tailings occurred, the impact could
be far worse, the report said.

Opposition to the mine has come from a broad range of
business firms, the latest being a group of 27 investment firms led by Trillium
Asset Management LLC and Calvert Investments. 
The investment firms recently called on the EPA to initiate a Clean
Water Act Section 404© review for the proposed Pebble mine.

Under Section 404© the EPA may prohibit or restrict the
disposal of mine waste if it determines that the mine will have an unacceptable
adverse effect on fishery areas, wildlife and recreational areas.