September 18, 2013 at 4:24 PM
Anglo American pulls out of Pebble Mine project in Alaska
Good news for environment, fishermen
As someone involved in the Bristol Bay commercial fishing industry for three decades, both as a fisherman and an owner of a supporting business, I was pleased to read that mining giant Anglo American (US) Pebble has decided to cut all financial ties to the proposed Pebble Mine project. [“Costly hit to Alaska mining project,” Business, Sept. 17.]
Anglo American’s decision was preceded by the public release of drafts of a study by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) that determined the proposed mine could destroy miles of salmon streams and as much as 4,800 acres of wetlands.
Although Anglo American’s pullout is a major blow to Pebble Mine proponents, the fight to protect Bristol Bay’s magnificent watershed isn’t over. The Pebble Limited Partnership will still apply for permits and seek new investors.
Meanwhile, Native American groups, fishermen, conservationists and business groups are petitioning the EPA for permanent protection of the watershed and the commercial fishery it supports — a $1.5 billion industry that provides more than 3,200 jobs in Washington state alone.
With Anglo American’s departure, it’s clear that at least one big mining company recognizes both science and common sense. Now it’s time for the EPA to follow suit, finalize the Bristol Bay Watershed Assessment and protect Bristol Bay forever.
Jeff Osborn, Seattle
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