Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Salmon fishers' big run clouded by EPA opening door to mine that they say threatens their fishery

New York Times map
"As commercial fishermen in Bristol Bay were busy landing salmon," Alex DeMarban reports for Alaska Dispatch News, "the Trump administration on Tuesday moved to cancel the Environmental Protection Agency's 2014 action that would have blocked development at the Pebble gold and copper prospect in Southwest Alaska," which foes say threatens the salmon fishery.

The mine, which would also produce molybdenum, has been proposed for more than a decade. Last month the Trump administration settled a lawsuit by the developers, allowing them to apply for federal permits. On Tuesday, EPA "proposed withdrawing its 2014 determination barring any large-scale mine in the area because it would imperil the region’s valuable sockeye salmon fishery," Brady Dennis reports for The Washington Post. "Even if the EPA eventually does withdraw its opposition, Pebble Mine would have to undergo a federal environmental review and clear other state hurdles before construction could begin. The EPA said Tuesday that after it hears from the public and consults with local tribes, its regional administrator will make a final determination 'in consultation' with" EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt.

"The opposition to the mine, including lodge owners led by Trout Unlimited, appears to be just as active as before," DeMarban reports from Alaska. "The proposal came as fishermen enjoy one of their biggest salmon-fishing seasons in years," according to Alannah Hurley, executive director of United Tribes of Bristol Bay, who DeMarban "reached by cellphone as she was commercial fishing with a net off the beach near Dillingham," he reports. She told him the announcement was "a stab in the back" to subsistence and commercial fishermen in the bay.

No comments: