Bristol Bay groups challenge EPA's Pebble project reversal
Five groups launched a legal challenge against the EPA at the United States District Court for the District of Alaska to stop Northern Dynasty's Pebble Creek, the world's biggest undeveloped gold and copper mining project.
Plaintiffs are the Bristol Bay Economic Development Corporation, Bristol Bay Native Association, United Tribes of Bristol Bay, Bristol Bay Regional Seafood Development Association and Bristol Bay Reserve Association.
The group challenges the EPA's withdrawl of "proposed determination". In July the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency rescinded its 2014 proposed determination ruling that prevented consideration of Northern Dynasty's Pebble project. The ruling does not permit the mine to proceed but rather restarts environmental review.
Northern Dynasty's Pebble Project is located in southwest Alaska. On the company's website it says the current resource estimate includes 6.5 billion tonnes in the measured and indicated categories containing 57 billion lb copper and 71 million oz gold. The company expects the environmental impact statement to wrap up by 2020.
In its brief the groups charge that the Bristol Bay area is foundational.
"The Bristol Bay watershed, and its ecologically important streams, wetlands, lakes and ponds, provide habitat for the world’s largest wild salmon runs, ranging from 30 to 60 million fish annually. Bristol Bay salmon are economically, culturally and ecologically critical to Alaskan communities, generating $1.5 billion in annual revenue and supporting 14,000 jobs. Bristol Bay salmon have also been the foundation of Alaska Native cultures in the region for thousands of years and continue to sustain some of the last intact wild salmon-based cultures in the world."