When it comes to Pebble Mine: No Means No

June 28, 2018 • Bonnie Gestring
That’s the message to Northern Dynasty Minerals in a full-page Ad today in the Vancouver Sun, as this small Canadian company and its shareholders gather for its annual meeting.  The message from Alaska’s Bristol Bay is clear: “We will never… More »

Montana Labels Head of the Hardrock Mining Lobby a “Bad Actor”

April 18, 2018 • Bonnie Gestring
What does it say about the mining industry if the Chairman of the National Mining Association has defaulted on his cleanup obligations? Last month the State of Montana’s Department of Environmental Quality sent formal letters to Hecla Mining Company CEO… More »

Tiffany & Co. Takes a Stand for Protecting Alaska’s Bristol Bay from the Pebble Mine

February 5, 2018 • Bonnie Gestring
Today, Tiffany & Co. placed a full-page Ad in the Washington Post thanking the EPA for its recent decision to retain the proposed restrictions to protect Bristol Bay.  In its Ad, it states: “Tiffany & Co. has long been a vocal… More »

California Urges First Quantum Minerals: Stay Out of Pebble Mine

January 29, 2018 • Bonnie Gestring
Today, the California State Treasurer, John Chiang, sent a letter to First Quantum Minerals, a potential investor in the proposed Pebble Mine, urging the company to stay out of the controversial project. The State of California is one of the largest… More »

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Trump’s EPA ignores science, paves the way for Pebble mine

May 15, 2017 • Bonnie Gestring

Friday, the Trump Administration’s Environmental Protection Agency reversed course on the agency’s long standing efforts to protect Alaska’s Bristol Bay and America’s most valuable wild salmon fishery.

In announcing a deal with Canadian-based Northern Dynasty to settle the company’s legal fight, the EPA has agreed to drop its 2014 proposed determination to protect the salmon fishery from the Pebble copper-gold-molybdenum open-pit mine proposal.

Alaska’s Pebble Mine: Investment Firm Says Northern Dynasty is “Worthless”

February 14, 2017 • Bonnie Gestring

It’s hard to believe that the battle to protect America’s most valuable wild salmon fishery from the proposed Pebble Mine continues. Across America, the public has repeatedly voiced its opposition to Pebble, and its support for protecting Alaska’s Bristol Bay salmon fishery and the 14,000 hard-working fishermen it supports.  

Commercial fishermen. Seafood processors. Hunters and anglers. Alaska Native communities. Jewelry retail companies. Grocery stores. Chefs. Restaurants. Churches. Scientists. They’ve all said Pebble is a bad idea. And, some of the world’s largest mining companies (Anglo American & Rio Tinto) have walked away from it. 

Great News! Southwest Oregon’s Wild Rivers Protected

January 13, 2017 • Bonnie Gestring

It's good news this week!  The Interior Secretary announced a public land order to safeguard 100,000 acres of public lands in southwest Oregon -- renowned for the wild and scenic rivers, prolific salmon and steelhead runs, and exceptionally clear waters. The mineral withdrawal will protect these lands from new mining claims for 20-years to give congress time to consider more lasting protection.  

The ancient laterite soils that make this region so unique have attracted mining interests who want to strip-mine for low-grade nickel deposits.  Despite broad opposition, the Forest Service says their hands are tied by the archaic 1872 Mining Law, which prioritizes mining over all other land uses. Crazy as it sounds, it’s true.  This law, which was enacted when women still wore hoop skirts, still governs hardrock mining on our federal lands today.

In response, key members of the Oregon and California congressional delegation, Senators Wyden and Merkeley and Representatives Defazio and Huffman, responded to local concern, and asked the Interior Department to withdraw these federal lands from mineral entry under the 1872 Mining Law for 20 years, while they push for congress to consider more lasting protection in the Southwestern Oregon Watershed and Salmon Protection Act of 2015 (S. 346 and H.R. 682).  

Allowing mining claims in these areas threatens some of Southern Oregon’s most unique natural treasures,” letter to the Secretary of Interior and Agriculture from Oregon’s Sen. Ron Wyden, Sen. Jeff Merkley and Rep. Peter DeFazio.  

In February 2015, the Interior Department got the ball rolling, initiating the mineral withdrawal process. Across the region, local interests jumped in with their support, including commercial fishermen, city and county government, tribes, and scientists. The outstanding natural resources afforded by these public lands are an important economic driver for the region, and provide clean drinking water for downstream communities. 

“As the largest trade association of commercial fishing families on the west coast, we at PCFFA (together with IFR) urge you to protect the headwaters of the Wild and Scenic Illinois and Smith Rivers and the Wild Rivers Coast from proposed nickel and other strip mines.” – letter from Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen’s Association.

Straddling the Oregon-California border, the K-S bioregion contains some of the largest concentration of intact watersheds on the west coast and world renowned biodiversity. These exceptionally high resource values, including several federal candidate and listed species, makes mining incompatible with the resource values and conservation investments in the bioregion.” - U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, September 2015

In April 28, 2016, the Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management released their environmental review of the proposed mineral withdrawal for public comment. The response was overwhelming. Hundreds of people packed the public meetings – expressing their support.  And, 99.9% of the written comments supported protection.

On January 12, the public land order appeared in the Federal Register to much acclaim.

"Protecting Northern California's spectacular wild and scenic Smith River, the key source of drinking water for many communities and a stronghold for salmon and steelhead, is the only responsible thing to do”, said Congressman Huffman in a press release with Congressman Defazio. “Keeping new mining activities out of the Smith and its tributaries has been an important priority for me, and I have been glad to have such a partner in my friend Peter DeFazio of Oregon, whose district shares the watershed. I am also pleased that the administration is acting on our recommendation to prohibit potentially hazardous mining in this sensitive watershed."

New Committee Hearing on Pebble: Same Old Story

June 23, 2016 • Bonnie Gestring

This week, the House Natural Resources Committee held yet another hearing about the controversial Pebble Mine proposed at the headwaters of Alaska’s Bristol Bay. Although the Republican-led hearing was ostensibly about the “appropriate role of NEPA in the permitting process,” it was really just another attempt by the Canadian-based mining company to present itself as a victim in what it considers an unfair process by EPA to place restrictions on waste disposal from the proposed mine.