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Pebble Mine Threatens Alaskan Salmon, Says EPA

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The world-famous sockeye salmon of Alaska’s Bristol Bay would be decimated by the proposed Pebble Mine copper mining operation, says a new report from the Environmental Protection Agency.

Salon.com reported that for years the Canadian mining company Northern Dynasty has been pushing to open Pebble Mine, an open-pit copper mining operation that would cover up to 186 square miles in Bristol Bay. While the region is rich with gold and copper, it includes rivers and wetlands that supply the region’s natives and nearly 25 percent of the world’s commercial sockeye salmon production.

RELATED: Salmon are disappearing from Alaska’s waterways.

The EPA’s report released earlier this month said that Pebble Mine would significantly damage both Bristol Bay’s salmon fisheries and environment. The report is partly a response to the region’s subsistence hunter tribes and salmon fishermen, who first called on the EPA three years ago to protect Bristol Bay from the Pebble Mine.

“Large-scale mining poses risks to salmon and the tribal communities,” EPA regional director said in a statement. “This is one of the last great places and supports some of the last remaining subsistence cultures in the world. Both the scale of the deposit and the nature of the mining that could take place in this region—and the importance of the native communities there—have driven us to make this assessment.”

Despite the warnings outlined in their report, the EPA hasn’t made any actions to stop Northern Dynasty from setting up shop or breaking ground in Bristol Bay. Northern Dynasty plans to submit a proposal for the mine to the US Army Corps of Engineers.

What do you think of the mining operation? Let us know in the comments.

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Pebble Mine Threatens Alaskan Salmon, Says EPA