Authorities American announced Thursday that they intend to restore protections granted to an area of Alaska, which had been lifted by the administration of Donald Trump, with the aim of permanently blocking a proposed gold and copper mine. Bristol Bay “Is a treasure”, said in a statement the administrator of the United States Agency for the Protection ofenvironment (EPA). “What is at stake is preventing pollution that would disproportionately affect the natives of Alaska, and protecting a viable future for North America’s most productive salmon fishery.”, he added.
The Bristol Bay Watershed is an Alaskan treasure that underscores the critical value of clean water in America. EPA is committed to making science-based decisions to protect our natural environment. Read about the steps we taking to protect #BristolBay: https://t.co/HPXw6SCn8G
– Michael Regan, US EPA (PEPAMichaelRegan) September 9, 2021
Bristol Bay is home to a huge wild salmon fishing area. The exceptional water quality of rivers and marshy areas provide ideal habitat for these fish.In 2014, under the Obama administration, the EPA had already tried to block the project, highlighting the negative consequences for the local fishery.
Long lasting protection
But the Trump administration had allowed Pebble Limited Partnership, a subsidiary of the Canadian group Northern Dynasty Minerals, to apply for an operating permit, but last year the permit was refused by the Corps of Engineers of the United States Army (USACE), which considered the project to be “Contrary to the general interest”Thursday’s decision is aimed at ensuring that the project is stalled for the longer term, including if a revised project is presented. Concretely, the EPA is using a provision of the Water Protection Act (Clean Water Act). The protection plan developed through this provision was revoked by the Trump administration in 2019, in a notice of withdrawal. Joe Biden’s government on Thursday began the procedure to invalidate this notice of withdrawal. If this procedure ends up in court, the EPA “Will announce a timetable to resume a process to protect certain waters in Bristol Bay”, she said.