Bristol Bay, Alaska, is counting on an explosive year. At least when it comes to fish, with more than 40 million returning sockeye salmon in the 2017 forecast. But it could also be a big year for dusting off backhoes thanks to a new administration that, according to Northern Dynasty Minerals Ltd., now has "a desire to permit Pebble."
Northern Dynasty recently announced that with a Trump blessing the company expects to resolve its environmental disputes by April, enabling it to move forward with permitting for its controversial megamine in the Bristol Bay headwaters. “We will come to a resolution within 100 days” with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Northern Dynasty CEO Ronald Thiessen said on Monday in Vancouver.
In 2014, the EPA released its Proposed Determination intended to limit mining within the Bristol Bay region on the basis that Pebble would cause irreversible and unacceptable damage and citing “potentially destructive impacts” to the world’s largest sockeye salmon fishery. Hundreds of thousands of public comments were submitted across the country on the proposal, 99 percent of which were in support of strong protections for Bristol Bay. That same year, British Columbia's Mount Polley tailings dam failed, unleashing a slurry of toxic mud and water into Quesnel Lake and spotlighting real threats posed by large-scale mining. Mount Polley of course is an open-pit copper and gold mine. Sound familiar?
Trump's pick to head the EPA, Scott Pruitt, has been a vocal opponent of the agency's "activist agenda" and has called for regulatory rollbacks. Meantime, Northern Dynasty shares have more than tripled since the Nov. 8 election as investors speculate that the long-shelved Pebble project could have legs.
Read more about Pebble Mine and learn how you can take action, here.