Alaskan Copper Mine Could Destroy the World’s Largest Wild Salmon Run
A giant copper and gold mine proposed for Alaska’s Bristol Bay watershed could devastate thousands of acres of wetlands and the world’s largest wild salmon run, the Environmental Protection Agency says in a final assessment.
Bristol Bay is the large, wildlife-rich bay north of the Aleutian Islands archipelago.
The scientific study, released Wednesday, concluded that the Pebble Mine project would demolish up to 94 miles of streams, including salmon spawning habitat; destroy more than 5,000 acres of wetlands and lakes; harm the traditional salmon-based culture of 25 federally recognized tribes; and threaten the bay’s $480 million salmon industry, the National Resources Defense Council said in a statement.
“This is a scientific indictment of the Pebble Mine – or any other large-scale mining in the Bristol Bay watershed,” said Joel Reynolds, western director of the NRDC. “The assessment documents what we’ve feared for years – Pebble Mine would destroy the world-class wild salmon fishery, cost jobs and endanger the communities and wildlife that depend on it.”
Bristol Bay, the easternmost arm of the Bering Sea, is 250 miles long and 180 miles wide at its mouth. Several rivers flow into it, including the Nushagak and Kvichak, which are rich in mineral resources, including copper and gold. The bay attracts sport and subsistence fishers and hunters, wildlife viewers and general tourism.
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