The natural beauty and bounty of Bristol Bay, Alaska is indisputable. But a proposal to develop an open pit gold and copper mine leaves the region’s future up for a potentially disastrous outcome.

The US government is attempting to fast track the permitting process for Pebble Mine, a development that the US Environmental Protection Agency warns would cause irreparable, damaging impacts on both people and nature. Now, the US Army Corps of Engineers is responsible for assessing the mine’s effects on the environment and the public has just 30 days to weigh in on the mining proposal.

There is a lot on the line.

Bristol Bay, Alaska boasts one of the most productive, unspoiled ecosystems in North America. Home to the world’s largest wild salmon fishery, it’s been called America’s fish basket. Bristol Bay is also brimming with sea otters, beluga whales, humpback whales, caribou, brown bears, and moose. While all arctic species face conservation challenges, Bristol Bay’s intact ecosystems provide a rare refuge for fish and wildlife in a warming and more crowded planet.

The proposal has a massive footprint

While the mine itself would be a major disrupter to important wildlife habitats and livelihoods, the infrastructure needed to develop and operate Pebble Mine doubles the threat.

Originally posted 2018-04-02 12:00:00.

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