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  According to multiple sites, the EPA is planning to impose restrictions on Pebble Mine as part of section 404C of the Clean Water Act, that will, basically, kill the mine. As readers who have read my diaries on Pebble and on  Alaska as part of my national park series, I firmly believe Bristol Bay should be a national monument, so that a project like Pebble can never be attempted in the region again. Since most of the lands around the bay itself are federal, that would make the monument a massive one, likely over 10 million acres, when the submerged lands and waters of the bay are included. protecting the salmon requires that the bay itself, and its watershed be withdrawn permanently from mining and oil drilling. While the Bay itself is withdrawn from oil and gas until 2017, that withdrawal should be made permanent.

http://www.startribune.com/...
  According to multiple sites, the EPA is planning to impose restrictions on Pebble Mine as part of section 404C of the Clean Water Act, that will, basically, kill the mine. As readers who have read my diaries on Pebble and on  Alaska as part of my national park series, I firmly believe Bristol Bay should be a national monument, so that a project like Pebble can never be attempted in the region again. Since most of the lands around the bay itself are federal, that would make the monument a massive one, likely over 10 million acres, when the submerged lands and waters of the bay are included. protecting the salmon requires that the bay itself, and its watershed be withdrawn permanently from mining and oil drilling. While the Bay itself is withdrawn from oil and gas until 2017, that withdrawal should be made permanent. currently, the president can only create monuments of 5000 acres, without Congress' ok, in Alaska- a restriction that is both unnecessary-- Congress can already defund or abolish monuments it doesnt like- and superfluous- Congress already has the sole authority to declare wilderness areas or national parks. This action by the EPA is a welcome one, and an expected one. Northern Dynasty will try to sue to block the EPA from using its power, and its allies in Congress will try and overrule the EPA- but thats a thin reed. Obama will veto any bill that tries to force the approval of Pebble, and it wont get through the Senate anyway as long as the Dems control it- which imo, its looking more and more likely that they will retain the Senate in November.

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Comment Preferences

  •  This is good news, but part of a process (8+ / 0-)

    if the Dems retake the House- a long shot granted- setting aside Bristol Bay should be action they take. Begich likely will support the measure as long as traditional hunting, fishing and other uses are permitted.

  •  Hooray! And a big thank you to Robert Redford (6+ / 0-)

    who has sent out emails and mailings to get support to fight this mining mess.  

    Gravitation cannot be held responsible for people falling in love. - Einstein

    by moose67 on Fri Jul 18, 2014 at 08:55:22 AM PDT

  •   stopping the mine isnt enough. protecting the (6+ / 0-)

    salmon, and the way of life of the native tribes and residents, requires federal protection. that falls on Congress, since ANILCA limited the Presidents Antiquities Act powers in Alaska. otherwise, if the limits werent there, Bristol Bay likely would have been set aside under Clinton.

  •  Isn't this already all kinds of dead? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Aunt Pat

    I thought all the partners who had actual money withdrew.  

    Northern Dynasty doesn't have a credit line worth tens of billions of dollars.

    •  Dynasty is still pressing on with attempting (7+ / 0-)

      to get the mine approved, despite Rio Tinto withdrawing. Dynasty doesnt have the money ion its own, it needs partners to do it. this is  the EPA putting limits on the size of the mine, which, in practice would make it impossible for the mine to go forward. the mine would require an open pit miles wide and nearly a mile deep, and require a dam for all the toxic filing and tailings that would be taller than the Washington Monument (over 700 feet tall) in an area that regularly sees earthquakes stronger than 8 on the Richter Scale. Whats the worst that could happen? (sarcasm)

  •  IIRC metal prices have been going up for a decade (0+ / 0-)

    so any of these proposed big mines would make tons of money.

    They will keep trying.

    “The answer must be, I think, that beauty and grace are performed whether or not we will or sense them. The least we can do is try to be there.” ― Annie Dillard, Pilgrim at Tinker Creek

    by 6412093 on Fri Jul 18, 2014 at 03:50:03 PM PDT

  •  In this article (0+ / 0-)

    the company refers to pending litigation, so this isn't over.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/...

    “The answer must be, I think, that beauty and grace are performed whether or not we will or sense them. The least we can do is try to be there.” ― Annie Dillard, Pilgrim at Tinker Creek

    by 6412093 on Fri Jul 18, 2014 at 03:55:46 PM PDT

    •   given recent SC rulings, the case is a longshot, (0+ / 0-)

      at best. thee EPA has rarely used the power under section 404C, which blocks a mine before a permit is issued. and given Bristol Bays unique circumstances- a hugely productive salmon producing area, upon which the residents are dependent, and the sheer size and scale of the proposed mine and dam, which would be needed to hold the debris- this is a project which never should have seen the light of day. whatever money and jobs that would be created over a 35-50 year span, would be dwarfed by the jobs and money created over the next 100 years by turning the area into a monument or park. parks are great economic engines, creating millions each day in revenue. and given Bristol Bays outstanding beauty and the thousands of jobs it currently supports from the fishing industry,protecting the salmon and their habitat- and thus maintaining the fishing jobs indefinitely- sounds like an absolute nobrainer.

  •  Thanks Morrell, truely wonderful News! (0+ / 0-)

    Readers, if you haven't experienced it, you will find difficulty in understanding the magnitude of the Bristol Bay salmon fishery. Alaska's Fishery managers have been able to maintain all the Bering Sea's fisheries WITHOUT farming. With a hat tip to Native Corporations and littoral subsistence set netting along with the commercial gill nets and canneries the long-term economic benefits of Bristol Bay are almost incalculable.
    The tourism potential is also great, the area contains the nation's largest State Park, Wood-Tikchik, Togiak NWR, and one of my most memorable spots, Round Island Walrus Reserve. Where can you go a few miles in a float plane and see many hundreds of walrus bulls just bein' boys?  

    "the northern lights have seen queer sights, but the queerest they ever did see. Was that night on the marge of Lake Lebarge, I cremated Sam McGee". - Robert Service, Bard of the Yukon

    by Joe Jackson on Sun Jul 20, 2014 at 03:58:53 PM PDT

    •  which is why declaring it a national monument, to (0+ / 0-)

      preserve the fishery and beautiful scenery forever, is a nobrainer. much like in Arizona, the lands within the monument owned by the native corporations can be closed to visitors by the tribes. frankly Bristol Bay should have been declared a monument years ago, and likely would have if not for the 5000 acre limit put in in the ANILCA act that Carter signed in 1980.

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