Waterkeeper Alliance celebrates the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) release of its Final Determination for the Pebble Deposit, which details durable protections for the Bristol Bay region. As the last step in the 404(c) process, these protections will now become law under the Clean Water Act. Due to the adverse effects on the watershed and the salmon fishery it supports, EPA’s Final Determination prohibits certain waters of the United States in the South Fork Koktuli River and North Fork Kotuli River watersheds from being used as disposal sites for the discharge of dredged or fill material associated with mining at the Pebble deposit.
“Cook Inletkeeper staff and board are thrilled and thankful that EPA has heard the voices from the region and is ending this two-decade-long battle that has threatened the Bristol Bay watershed,” said Bridget Maryott, Cook Inletkeeper. “Inletkeeper hopes this will be a lesson to foreign mining companies who seek to destroy the values and traditions of Tribes and thriving communities in Alaska. This decision should be a warning to investors who think Alaska is a quick way to make a buck. Alaskans will continue to stick together to protect the water, ecosystems, and salmon that sustain us.”
“From Bristol Bay to the Duwamish River, the Bay Delta, and the headwaters of the Columbia River, the watersheds of the west are interconnected and interdependent,” said Sean Dixon, Executive Director at Puget Soundkeeper. “For our salmon and our communities, today’s decision invests in our future while honoring and protecting the tribal, ecological, and economic needs of the present.”
“Waterkeeper Alliance applauds the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issuing a 404(c) Clean Water Act veto to end the threat of the Pebble Mine in Bristol Bay, Alaska; the heart of a seismically active, biologically thriving, and culturally rich region—home to the largest remaining sockeye salmon run in the world,” said Marc Yaggi, CEO of Waterkeeper Alliance. “Although the EPA has now closed this chapter on the dangerous Pebble Mine, we must remain vigilant in the fight to protect Bristol Bay from future threats. We are counting on our leaders to continue their work to ensure this special place, fishery, and community is protected for generations to come.”
Cook Inletkeeper, the local Alaskan Waterkeeper group, first met with the mining company behind the Pebble project in 2003. Since then Cook Inletkeeper, Puget Soundkeeper, and Waterkeeper Alliance have remained committed to protecting Bristol Bay and its watershed, salmon, economy, and people.