Plans to mine alongside Alaska’s pristine Bristol Bay, where half the world’s salmon are fished, had appeared dead in the water in recent years.
Not anymore. The Environmental Protection Agency has dropped a regulatory plan that would have protected Bristol Bay from the planned Pebble Mine, encouraging the project’s backers to seek permits and move forward.
Northern Dynasty, the mining concern behind the Pebble project, has had a rough few years. In 2014, the Obama EPA moved to block its plans to mine for copper and gold under the Clean Water Act, prompting the company to launch a costly court battle. Then a New York investments house announced it believes the company’s stock is effectively worth $0.00 — because even if Pebble gets approved it will be economically impossible to extract the minerals there in a profitable fashion.
Optimists, meanwhile, began pushing Northern Dynasty stock as a get-rich-quick opportunity following President Donald Trump’s election victory, in anticipation of a reversal in federal policy toward Pebble. On Friday, that prediction was proven at least partly correct: EPA head Scott Pruitt announced the agency would settle Northern Dynasty’s lawsuit, abandon Obama-era regulatory plans, and allow the company to apply for a mining permit.
Alaska natives, fishermen, and environmental groups worked pretty damn hard to put the kibosh on this terrible project, and now with one hijacked election we are back to square one.
Elections have consequences, perhaps if Alaskans had bothered to research the candidates they would not have helped elect the man who will help to poison our precious Bristol Bay and murder thousands of our fish.