Enviro campaign against Pebble mine reignited

Winter hydrology studies at the Pebble site (Photo: Pebble Limited Partnerships).

The Natural Resources Defense Council just ran a celebratory ad on Politico.com, after the World Conservation Congress voted almost unanimously to oppose the Pebble Mine proposed for Bristol Bay, Alaska.

NRDC ad against Pebble Mine

Pebble Limited Partnerships, whose parent company is Vancouver-based Northern Dynasty Minerals, is the firm behind the large scale gold, copper, and molybdenum mine that contains over $300 billion worth of recoverable metals at early 2010 prices.

The plan has been facing heated opposition since the mid-2000s. A 2006-poll by the Cromer Group revealed that 53% of Alaskans oppose it; a second poll ran by Hellenthal Associates that same year found that 71% were against it, and a third poll presented in 2011 stated that 85% of commercial fishermen also reject the project.

In 2014, the EPA issued a preliminary determination that blocked the mine from being built, but it was brought to court by Pebble Limited Partnership. The group claims that the agency manipulated scientific results and that some of its staff should have been found in conflict of interest.  

The WCC decision is, thus, the latest in a long string of actions implemented by environmentalists, Native American groups, and even the Environmental Protection Agency itself to prevent Pebble from going forward. They all have expressed concerns about the “irreversible negative impacts” of the mine in the one of the planet’s greatest wild salmon fisheries, which hosts a US$4.1 million industry.

In sync with such anguishes, the World Conservation Congress’ motion urges the U.S. government to take the necessary measures to prevent the granting of permits for large-scale mining in the Bristol Bay watershed.

The Congress is the highest decision-making body of the International Union for Conservation of Nature, which gathers representatives of 170 governments across the world.