Pebble Limited Partnership CEO John Shively was on the stump last week asking people to withhold judgment, to wait and see whether the consortium of foreign mining corporations behind the massive Pebble Mine project proposed for the watershed above Bristol Bay in southwest Alaska can come up with a plan that won’t threaten the health, environment, and economic viability of Bristol Bay and the communities that depend on it.
Never mind that the 40,000 square mile Bristol Bay watershed feeds one of the most productive salmon fisheries in the world, generating over $400 million in revenue each year and tens of thousands of jobs.
Forget about the mega-mine scheme that the Pebble Partnership has already proposed, including an open pit two-miles wide and 2000 feet deep, and an underground mine up to 5000 feet deep, located at the region’s headwaters, next to Lake Iliamna, the source that, with the Nushagak River to the north, feeds the entire watershed and Bristol Bay itself.
Ignore the estimated 9 billion tons of mining waste containing toxic metals that the project would generate and the devastation that construction and operation of the mine would wreak on the interconnected hydrology of this seismically active region.
Disregard both the scientific consensus that copper, in even infinitesimal amounts, is toxic to salmon, interfering with their homing ability that is essential to their existence, and Pebble Partners’ prediction that Pebble could become one of the largest copper mines in the world.
Pay no attention to the overwhelming opposition of the communities that, for thousands of years, have depended on the health of the fisheries for their survival.
And, whatever you do, don’t think about the disastrous record of environmental failure of large-scale hard rock mines around the world, including mines operated by Anglo American, the very foreign conglomerate behind Pebble Mine itself.
John Shively’s invitation to “wait and see” should be declined.
Pebble Mine is a toxic disaster in the making, and it should be abandoned now. There are a lot of places in the world to mine copper and gold. But there is no compelling reason to allow a foreign consortium to destroy one of America’s great national treasures and jeopardize the health and livelihood of American citizens.
Please take action now and sign our petition. Tell Anglo American that you won't tolerate the destruction of America's natural and cultural heritage in order to line its own pockets.
This post originally appeared on NRDC's Switchboard blog.