WASHINGTON, January 31, 2023 – After more than 20 years of short-sighted proposals aimed at destroying Alaska’s Bristol Bay watershed, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today rejected a long-sought permit and once and for all prohibited the proposed Pebble Mine.
The Pebble Mine and related construction activity would have directly jeopardized the highest concentration of brown bears in the world, along with the world-class salmon fisheries which are the bears’ primary food source. Katmai and Lake Clark National Parks are within the Bristol Bay watershed and provide habitat for brown bears that rely on Bristol Bay’s healthy salmon populations. Bristol Bay is home to the world’s largest wild sockeye salmon run, which generates $2 billion in economic activity annually and serves as the foundation of the region’s traditional culture and way-of-life. Last summer alone, the world-class salmon fishery produced an unprecedented run of more than 78 million fish.
The permit rejection comes after more than a decade of work by Alaska Native organizations, along with the National Parks Conservation Association and so many local and national organizations that spoke up to protect the water, wildlife habitat, and subsistence resources. The two-decade fight against the Pebble Mine gained an international and nearly unprecedented level of support, from Republicans to Democrats, hunters to restauranteurs, global brands to local businesses, fishermen and beyond.
Statement by Theresa Pierno, President and CEO of the National Parks Conservation Association
“Today’s critical action to protect Alaska’s Bristol Bay affirms the irreplaceable significance of this region, home to the world’s largest sockeye salmon run and Alaska Native communities for time immemorial. From Nondalton, Alaska to Washington, D.C., NPCA worked alongside communities and conservation partners for years to stop this disastrous proposal, which also threatened Lake Clark and Katmai national parks.
“Bold action was needed to once and for all stop this mine that would have forever damaged the Bay and its surrounding national parks, wildlife and wild lands. We commend the EPA for today’s action, which marks the beginning of allowing this region to heal while working towards future protection.
“We will continue to stand with allies and advocates to protect this spectacular region of the country, its surrounding community and its vibrant salmon and bear populations.”
Link to EPA decision:https://www.epa.gov/bristolbay/final-determination-pebble-deposit-area
About the National Parks Conservation Association: Since 1919, the nonpartisan National Parks Conservation Association has been the leading voice in safeguarding our national parks. NPCA and its more than 1.6 million members and supporters work together to protect and preserve our nation’s most iconic and inspirational places for future generations. For more information, visit www.npca.org.