Many Alaskans make a living by fishing for Salmon. Bristol Bay is one of the top fishing spots in Alaska and now it could be at risk for devastation, thanks to a mining. A recent report released by the government says that there is a large-scale copper and gold mine in Alaska’s Bristol Bay region. If the area is mined, much of Bristol Bay could be destroyed.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency conducted an assessment on the mine to see what kind of effects it would have on the bay and surrounding area. The assessment shows, that depending on the size of the mine, up to 94 miles of streams would be destroyed in the mere build-out of the project, including losses of between 5 and 22 miles of streams known to provide salmon spawning and rearing habitat. Up to 5,350 acres of wetlands, ponds and lakes also would be lost due to the mine footprint.
If the mining were to become long term, the salmon population would shrink significantly and many of the residents in the Bristol Bay area would suffer as well. Further consequences of the mine include pollution runoff from the mine that could get into stream water and the possible failure of a tailings dam.
John Shively, the chief executive of the Pebble Limited Partnership, which was created to design, permit and run the mine, claims that the report is inaccurate. He accused the EPA of not spending enough time on the report and insists that the mine would not be harmful to the salmon populations or nearby residents. He called the report “a poorly conceived and poorly executed study, and it cannot serve as the scientific basis for any decisions concerning Pebble.”
Do you think the Pebble Limited Partnership should be allowed to mine in Bristol Bay after learning of the EPA’s assessment?
Image via Wikimedia Commons.