This week, a group of fifty investors, worth over $105 billion, spoke out against the controversial Pebble Mine in southwest Alaska – a massive copper and gold mine that threatens the world’s largest and most productive wild salmon fishery. These investors, led by Trillium Asset Management, are the latest in a broad and diverse set of powerful interests, including Bristol Bay Native Tribes and commercial fishermen, to voice support for permanent Bristol Bay protections. The investors sent a letter to EPA and Congress which calls for two things:
- EPA to use its authority under Section 404(c) of the Clean Water Act to immediately restrict mine waste disposal in wetlands, rivers and streams within the Bristol Bay watershed; and
- Congress to enact legislation to establish a National Fisheries Area to provide permanent federal protection against large-scale mining within the Bristol Bay watershed.
More importantly, these investors have a unique and important perspective that considers the Pebble Project and the Bristol Bay salmon fishery in a global economic context:
“Investors recognize that the value of our portfolios is dependent in part on sustainable global economic growth,” said Julie Tanner, Managing Director of Socially Responsible Investing at Christian Brothers Investment Services. “It is in our interest for our portfolio companies to recognize the important role of environmental and social impacts. We therefore believe it is critically important for mining activity to not occur in ecologically and culturally inappropriate areas like Bristol Bay.”
Why this? Why now? As you may recall, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers rejected the Pebble Mine permit application in November 2020 after determining that its development would “cause unavoidable adverse impacts” to aquatic resources. The Corps concluded that the mine as proposed “cannot be permitted under section 404 of the Clean Water Act,” and it would be “contrary to the public interest.”
Yet, that hasn’t stopped Northern Dynasty, the junior Canadian mining company behind the proposed project, which immediately appealed the decision. Although Northern Dynasty is beleaguered by controversy over the SEC litigation filed by its investors, we expect Northern Dynasty, or some other company, to continue to pursue mining of the Pebble deposit until lasting protections are established.
A new economic report, released in March 2021 shows that the economic benefits of the Bristol Bay wild salmon fishery exceeded $2.2 billion in 2019, supplying as much as 57% of the world’s commercial supply of wild salmon and supporting 15,000 annual jobs.
It’s time to provide lasting protection for the phenomenal wild salmon fishery that powers the regional economy and feeds the world.
To join our efforts to support Bristol Bay Protection: CLICK HERE TO SEND A QUICK E-MAIL TO EPA.