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Bristol Bay Tribes Urge EPA to End the Threat of Pebble Mine 

EPA’s “Recommended Determination” follows extensive public support for durable protections for Bristol Bay and a record-breaking fishing season


December 04, 2022

(SitNews) Dillingham, Alaska — Today, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued a “Recommended Determination” detailing potential Clean Water Act protections for Bristol Bay that could address the threat of the Pebble Mine. 
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The release of the Recommended Determination marks the closest the EPA has ever been to finalizing Clean Water Act 404(c) protections for Bristol Bay. The next (and final) step in that process is for the agency to determine whether to issue a “Final Determination” formalizing protections.

“We welcome the Environmental Protection Agency advancing the process for protecting Bristol Bay,” said Alannah Hurley, executive director for the United Tribes of Bristol Bay. “After twenty years of Pebble hanging over our heads, the Biden Administration has the opportunity to follow through on its commitments by finalizing comprehensive, durable protections for our region as soon as possible. We look forward to reviewing the EPA’s Recommended Determination in greater detail to ensure it achieves the goal of protecting our people and region from the threat of the Pebble Mine.”

Last May, the EPA released its “revised proposed determination” outlining potential protections for Bristol Bay and took public comments through the summer on their proposal. The agency received more than half a million comments urging the agency to stop Pebble Mine and enact long-sought watershed protections supported by the region’s Tribes, commercial and sport fishery groups, conservation organizations, and millions of Americans. 

Bristol Bay Tribes first requested Clean Water Act protections in 2010, but have been pursuing permanent, durable protections for nearly twenty years. The EPA started considering proposed protections in 2014, following a three-year study of the Bristol Bay watershed and fisheries. After legal challenges, the Clean Water Act process was re-initiated in late 2021.

Related News:

Governor Dunleavy Poised to Sue EPA over Bristol Bay Veto - In comments submitted earlier this year, Governor Mike Dunleavy called on EPA Region 10 to withdraw its proposed action to prohibit the development of the Pebble deposit in the Bristol Bay area. - More...
SitNews - December 04, 2022

EPA Takes Next Step in Consideration of Protections for Bristol Bay - On December 1, 2022, EPA Region 10 Regional Administrator Casey Sixkiller transmitted to EPA’s Office of Water Assistant Administrator Radhika Fox, a Clean Water Act Section 404(c) Recommended Determination to prohibit and restrict the use of certain waters in Alaska’s Bristol Bay watershed as disposal sites for certain discharges of dredged or fill material associated with developing the Pebble Deposit.   - More...
SitNews - December 04, 2022

Edited/Published By: Mary Kauffman, SitNews

Source of News:

United Tribes of Bristol Bay
United Tribes of Bristol Bay is a Tribal consortium representing 15 Bristol Bay tribal governments (that represent over 80 percent of the region’s total population) working to protect the Yup’ik, Dena'ina, and Alutiiq way of life in Bristol Bay.

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