Politics, power and pandering mean more to the Trump administration than clean water, thriving fisheries, and healthy Alaska communities.
The withdrawal of the 2014 Environmental Protection Agency Proposed Determination to protect Bristol Bay on July 30 proves that Trump’s EPA will flip-flop to benefit industry interests, despite its prior science-based conclusions.
The agency is scrambling to remove protections it previously found necessary to protect Bristol Bay from an industrial mine proposed at the headwaters of the world’s last great sockeye salmon fishery. EPA withdrew its proposed protections despite its own scientific record and continued input from agencies, the public, and too many scientists to count that this mine is a hazard to the social, cultural, economic, and environmental health of Bristol Bay.
The EPA itself submitted comments this month outlining the inadequacy of the Army Corps’ flawed draft environmental impact statement for the proposed Pebble mine because it may have “substantial and unacceptable adverse impacts on fisheries resources in the project area watersheds…”
Yet, less than a month later, the agency sweeps away protections it proposed in 2014 based on essentially the same facts and concerns?
Pebble intends to buy a permit
Instead of seeking a project permit through an adequate science-based application, Pebble intends to buy one. The Canadian company spent $770,000 on lobbying in Washington, D.C., in the last three months alone. Those payouts are paying off as the Army Corps and now EPA hand out mulligans to a corporation that has failed to produce even a sliver of a thorough or adequate data to support a permit application.
These agencies know the Pebble proposal presents a catastrophic threat to Bristol Bay fisheries, waterways, and communities, yet they pass it forward like a hot potato that will end up burning Alaskans.
Once again, Trump’s EPA proves that money talks and corporations toy with working Americans while the people of Bristol Bay—folks who simply want to fish and sustain their traditions—must carry the burden of endlessly fighting to protect the water and land that nourishes their families and communities.
The only consistency here is the science and the public opposition
The only thing consistent through all these evasive administrative tactics is scientific and public opposition to the proposed Pebble mine. Bristol Bay does not want this mine. Alaskans do not want this mine. Science has shown repeatedly that this mine would do lasting harm to Bristol Bay and that fish, water, wildlife, and communities will not survive this proposed industrial mine intact.
We should not have to fight a foreign mining company to protect a place that has given so much to the people of Bristol Bay for thousands of years. We should not have to fight our own public agencies to protect the people and communities directly in the path of industrial waste. We should not have to, but we will. We are. We do.