Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Federal Judge Blocks Review Of Alaska Mine's Impact On Salmon | ThinkProgress

‘King Salmon’, United States, Alaska, Naknek, Bristol Bay, 2013. 

A federal judge has dealt a procedural blow to the EPA’s efforts to protect a remote part of Alaska from the impacts of what could be the largest copper and cold mine in North America. On Monday, Judge H. Russel Holland of the U.S. District Court of Alaska issued a preliminary injunction in favor the Pebble Mine’s efforts to block the EPA, thus preventing the EPA from taking further steps in its Clean Water Act (CWA) review process. Under section 404(c) of the CWA, the EPA has the authority to veto projects in the interest of protecting important rivers and wetlands. Alaska’s Bristol Bay watershed, where the mine would be located is the most productive wild sockeye salmon fishery in the world, and native tribes and environmentalists want the mine halted.
The EPA initiated the 404(c) process to stop the mine earlier this year, alleging the Pebble Mine would have significant and irreversible negative impacts on the Bristol Bay watershed. According to the EPA, it has used this authority sparingly, and typically with major projects that could have “significant impacts on some of America’s most ecologically valuable waters...”

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