The Pebble Limited Partnership is leading the charge to stop increased salmon protections and expanded public input on large development projects in Alaska
Stand for Salmon, driven by Alaskan commercial, sport and native fishermen, is seeking to raise the bar on development standards in Alaskan salmon habitat.
The initiative, which is slated to be on the ballot later this year, would call on developments that pose significant harm to salmon habitat to create mitigation plans that minimize risk to wild rivers and streams. It sets upper limits on the amount of damage any one project can do to salmon habitat. Large projects would also go through more rigorous scrutiny, including more public input.
Pebble continues to actively pursue the open-pit Pebble Mine project at the headwaters of Bristol Bay, one of the world’s greatest wild salmon strongholds. (Last year, the region produced more than 60 million sockeye – the largest sockeye run on Earth.)
The company recently filed its Clean Water Act permit application with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt has put on hold a decision to withdraw Clean Water Act restrictions proposed by the Obama Administration to protect Bristol Bay, opting to wait until the end of the Pebble federal permitting process.
Meanwhile, the Trump Administration has proposed stripping the provision out of the Clean Water Act, known as 404(c), that would allow EPA to move forward and impose protections. That proposal comes as part of an infrastructure bill being floated by the Administration in Washington, DC.