ANCHORAGE– Today, Trout Unlimited challenged the Pebble Limited Partnership to drop its lawsuit against the Environmental Protection Agency and encouraged the Canadian mining company to “come clean with the public, show us your mining plan and stop hiding behind hollow promises and lawyers.”
PLP challenged the EPA’s decision-making authority under the Clean Water Act in a lawsuit filed today in federal district court in Alaska. The company asked for the court to halt the EPA’s work to analyze data and facilitate dialogue about the potential environmental impacts of the project. Research earlier this year found that Bristol Bay’s salmon runs are critical to the health and livelihoods of Bristol Bay residents and fuel fishing-based economies from rural Alaska communities all the way to the Pacific Northwest.
“The lawsuit filed by the Pebble Limited Partnership won’t change the fact that the Pebble Mine is still the wrong mine in the wrong place,” said Trout Unlimited Alaska Program Manager Tim Bristol. “It won’t change the fact that North America’s largest open pit mine would destroy the world’s largest wild sockeye salmon fishery that supports 14,000 jobs. And it won’t change the rock-solid science on which EPA based its decision to initiate the Clean Water Act 404(c) process.“
In the last nine months, two of Pebble's major investors – two of the largest mining companies in the world – decided the Pebble Mine was too risky and pulled out of the project. In doing so, one took a $500 million loss, and the other was forced to literally gift its shares to charity.
“Clearly, this is a last ditch effort from a company which now has no major mining experience on its team and has lost at every step of the way. It’s ridiculous that PLP is using resources to file a lawsuit but continues to refuse to apply for official permits after promising to do so for nearly a decade,” said Bristol. “The fact is, PLP can apply for a permit today, but they refuse to do so because they will have to reveal to the public once again that they will build a colossal open pit mine, impact wetlands and waterways, destroy salmon habitat and threaten thousands of jobs and unique way of life.”
The direct impacts that Pebble Mine would have led Alaska Native tribes and Alaskans from diverse interests and backgrounds to petition the EPA to use their Clean Water Act 404(c) authority over four years ago.
“The action being considered by EPA is not a “veto” as you so often hear from Pebble and its backers,” said Bristol. “The EPA is using science and public input in order to decide if a series of additional protections should be applied to the headwaters of Bristol Bay. The overwhelming majority of Bristol Bay residents say, ‘yes’, and a junior Canadian exploration company, abandoned by its partners and with no mining experience is using lawyers to say ‘no’. This lawsuit should be dropped and Pebble should lay its cards on the table.”
-Trout Unlimited is the nation’s oldest and largest coldwater fisheries conservation organization dedicated to conserving, protecting and restoring North America’s trout and salmon and their watersheds. Follow TU on Facebook and Twitter, and visit us online at tu.org or at savebristolbay.org.