EPA to Block Gravel Mine Project in Alaska

Army Corps of Engineers in 2020 Permission denied for project seen as critical to its continuation.

Pebble Limited Partnership, the company that wanted to build the mine, has objected to this decision, and is also expected to challenge the legality of the Biden administration’s new plan to protect Bristol Bay.

The company wants to dig an open-pit mine larger than a square mile and a third of a mile deep, where it can process tens of millions of tons of rock annually to extract metals estimated to be worth at least $300 billion. The will include the construction of a 270-megawatt power plant and 165 miles of natural gas pipelines, as well as an 82-mile road and large reservoirs for waste, some of which are toxic. It will also require dredging of a harbor in Iliamna Bay.

Both federal and state agencies have determined that the Mine, which will be located in two watersheds feeding fish-spawning rivers, will cause permanent damage and damage salmon breeding grounds, which are the basis of the sport fishing industry and a large commercial fishery. Fishing in Bristol Bay. Salmon is also an important part of the diet of Natives living in small villages in the region. Scientists say the mine will destroy more than 130 miles of streams, 2,800 acres of wetland and 130 acres of open water.

Last fall, as the Environmental Protection Agency said it intended to thwart the project, a spokesperson for the Gravel Mine Partnership said doing so could have unintended consequences, such as hampering the Biden administration’s climate change goals by significantly restricting its local inference. mineral used to make batteries for electric vehicles and other low carbon technologies.

“While Biden Management seeks lower carbon emissions for power generation, it must recognize that such a change would require significantly more mineral production – particularly copper,” spokesman Mike Heatwole said in a statement. Said. “Project Pebble remains an important domestic resource for minerals needed to meet management’s green energy goals.”

The Biden administration claims significant economic value in preserving Bristol Bay. The found that Bristol Bay commercial salmon fishing generated $2 billion in economic activity in 2019, and the economic activity created by fishing created 15,000 jobs.

Agency officials said they would accept public comments on the proposal by July 5 before issuing a final legal determination.

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