Big news today — Anglo-American canceled its investment in the Pebble copper and gold mine project in Bristol Bay, Alaska. The departure is great news for anyone who cares about preserving natural wilderness, but most of all for Alaska Native communities who depend on the Bristol Bay watershed for their livelihoods. (If you missed it, this op-ed from Callan J. Chuthlook-Sifsof beautifully explains why we must halt Pebble mine).
In 2010, Yupik elder and Nunamta Aulukestai leader Bobby Andrew told Anglo American in an Op-Ed in the Guardian: “The proposed Pebble mine has the potential to do real harm to Anglo American's reputation – you can't force a community to accept a mine it does not want.”
Anglo-American did the right thing by respecting overwhelming community opposition to the mine. Alluding to the high risks and costs of developing a mine in the area in a statement, Anglo’s decision to walk away from the project – despite having invested $541 million in it – further demonstrates that building a mine in Bristol Bay just doesn't make sense.
It's now up to the EPA to heed its own science and stop the irresponsible mine proposal once and for all. According to the EPA’s own scientific assessment, development of the mine would destroy more than 90 miles of salmon spawning streams, thousands of acres of wetlands, and the livelihoods that depend on these vital natural resources.
EPA chief Gina McCarthy visited Bristol Bay to see the proposed Pebble mine site. We hope her visit will lead her to make the right decision, especially given a near consensus on community opposition and an assessment from the EPA itself, detailing the devastation Pebble mine would bring.