“Life is short, art long, opportunity fleeting, experience treacherous, judgment difficult” - Hippocrates
That nifty aphorism could apply to the fight against the Pebble Mine aside from the difficulty of judgment part. It is a long fight, seemingly a generational fight, but the one thing we know is that a majority of Alaskans have judged this project to be the wrong mine in the wrong place. Over 2 million comments have been sent to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) opposing the mine. As for opportunity - now is the time is now to stop this mine in its tracks.
EPA took an important step on May 26 by opening public comment on a Proposed Determination: "to prohibit and restrict the use of certain waters in the South Fork Koktuli River, North Fork Koktuli River, and Upper Talarik Creek watersheds as disposal sites for the discharge of dredged or fill material associated with mining the Pebble deposit, a copper-, gold-, and molybdenum-bearing ore body located in Southwest Alaska." In its draft determination, the EPA proposes prohibiting the construction and operation of Pebble's 2020 mine plan and restricting any future mining of the Pebble deposit to a size less than Pebble's 2020 mine plan.
We know that the relatively modest but still unacceptable mine plan put forward by Pebble in 2020 is just the camel's nose under the tent. The actual plans are to initiate massive industrialization of the Bristol Bay Watershed with roads, mines, power plants, pipelines, processing facilities, mine waste sites, oil drums, barges, trucks, dust, noise, halogen light, diesel exhaust, garbage dumps, mining towns, saloons, brothels, gambling, etc. Boxing in the Pebble project to a relatively "small" footprint means that the mine will not be developed. Due to the amount of earth that must be displaced and moved and dumped elsewhere and the infrastructure and power development needs for Pebble, only a gigantic mine would turn a profit. Small mine most likely means no mine.
Public comments are due on July 5. The proposed determination stage is when the public gets the opportunity to comment. After considering public comment, the EPA then prepares a recommended determination. After that, EPA makes a final determination. So, this is an important step in the process because it's the one opportunity for public comment, but EPA still has a couple more steps to go after this. We're hopeful that EPA will move forward to quickly get to a final determination and stop Pebble Mine for good!
Raise your voice today in support of Bristol Bay, her salmon, and the cultures and livelihoods that depend upon them. This precious resource is breathtaking in its abundance, but it is under siege. In all of its ecological intricacy, the Bristol Bay watershed is protecting the viability and diversity of Bristol Bay salmon in the face of climate change, ocean acidification, and other threats. We must stand together to protect the watershed. Please submit a comment to the EPA supporting the protection of the watershed from the Pebble Mine.
Together we can do this!
Thank you for your voice,
The Alaska Center Team
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