Recently, we reported on Alaskan's trip to Washington to protest the absurdly risky Pebble Mine proposed for the Bristol Bay watershed … home of the world's largest wild salmon run.
Now, there's news that investors' fear of pollution-related financial losses may help the Pebble Mine.
In reality, the mining consortium behind the Pebble project probably doesn't need the particular investors now pressing the EPA.
But we can hope that pressure from Wall Street may help produce a harder-eyed assessment than eco-groups and locals could get from the federal government.
Earlier this year, the EPA said it would study how Pebble Mine could affect the Bristol Bay watershed.
But as The Anchorage Daily News reported recently, big investment funds want the agency to conduct a Section 404(c) review under the Clean Water Act … as a result of which the agency could prohibit or restrict the disposal of mine waste that would harm fisheries.
Even seemingly tiny amounts of mine waste in streams can kill salmon runs, given the extreme sensitivity of salmon's navigational abilities to changes in their birth rivers' metals and minerals content.
The EPA has not yet responded. We hope they do, and say, “Yes, of course we'll do a Clean Water Act review.”
Given the consistent history of water pollution by hard rock mines – and the records of the mining companies involved – any honest assessment will see huge risks to salmon runs and the entire salmon-fueled Bristol Bay ecology, including bears, birds, trees, and plants.
Eco-damage on that scale would also kill thousands of fishing and recreation-related jobs in the Bristol Bay region.