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Seattle Times letters to the editor

October 28, 2014 at 7:04 AM

Pebble Mine: EPA’s assessment a basis to impose restrictions

In their guest column, Mary Jane Nielsen and Lisa Reimers concluded that they had not decided if the Pebble Mine proposal should go forward or not, but they opposed Environmental Protection Agency restrictions that could block or limit the massive gold and copper mine’s development [“Wait for the facts on Pebble Mine,” Opinion, Oct. 12]. They assert that the EPA should not propose restrictions until the developers file a permit application for a massive gold and copper mine in the headwaters of Bristol Bay in southwestern Alaska.

In my opinion, the EPA’s 2012 “Assessment of Potential Mining Impacts on Salmon Ecosystems of Bristol Bay” provided a very solid basis for deciding to impose mining restrictions. It recognized the watershed’s role in supporting Alaska Native tribes’ subsistence-based hunting and fishing as well as the world’s largest sockeye fishery, in Bristol Bay. While the Pebble Limited Partnership had not yet filed a detailed final plan, enough was known to describe a likely size and type of mining operation to analyze its probable effects on the watershed.

If the Pebble Limited Partnership believes it can feasibly exploit the area’s gold and copper resources without causing such impacts, their permit application should be required to demonstrate how they could do that.

Peter Marshall, Bellevue

Comments | More in Environment | Topics: Alaska, EPA, Lisa Reimers

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