A Packed House in Seattle Speaks Out Against Pebble Mine

Hundreds show their support for protecting the wildlife and waters of Alaska.

EPA hearing, Anchorage

On May 24th, it was standing room only at the federal building in Seattle, Washington, where the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) held the first public meeting on its draft assessment of potential impacts from big mining to Bristol Bay, Alaska.

Hundreds of Washingtonians showed up to thank the EPA and to ask them to take the next step to stop the proposed Pebble gold and copper mine--which would produce up to ten billion tons of toxic waste and has the potential to destroy the largest sockeye salmon fishery in the world. 

Commercial fishermen demonstrated that the impacts from Pebble mine would reach much further than Alaska. Nearly a thousand Washington State fishermen are licensed to work in Bristol Bay, and their livelihoods depend on pristine water and a healthy salmon run. A strong showing of sports fisherman, native Alaskans, and wildlife enthusiasts were also in attendance.

According to the EPA's report, large-scale mining would have significant impacts on salmon and habitat in the vicinity of the mines. The construction and routine operations of one Pebble-like mine would destroy between 55 and 87 miles of streams and between 2,512 and 4,386 acres of wetlands--fundamentally changing the landscape and destroying habitat on which salmon, grizzlies, and many more wildlife depend.

A second meeting was held in Anchorage on June 4th, drawing a crowd of over 800, and several more were held in smaller communities throughout Bristol Bay the following week.

Under the Clean Water Act, the EPA has the authority and the responsibility to investigate the impacts from Pebble mine, and should take the measures needed to protect the waters, fish, wildlife and communities of Bristol Bay. One critical step the EPA needs to take is to close the loopholes in the Clean Water Act that allow mining corporations to use our nation's waters as industrial waste dumps.

Over the past year, more than 50,000 National Wildlife Federation Action Fund supporters have sent messages to the EPA, urging them to protect wildlife from toxic mine pollution--add your voice today!

Speak up to protect our nation’s waters and wildlife from the toxic pollution of hard rock mines.