You can't recreate untouched tundra, mountain meadows, crystal clear streams, and animals that have never encountered toxic waste. We don't have many of these wild places left. We should preserve the ones we do.
A long-awaited study by the Environmental Protection Agency has confirmed that the Pebble Mine -- along with its estimated 10 billion tons of mining waste -- would spell disaster for Bristol Bay, its legendary salmon runs, its pristine environment and its people.
All in all, it was another tough year for the Pebble Mine. And, in the coming year, look for more of the same. Bristol Bay is no place for large-scale mining, and the Pebble Mine will eventually be stopped. It's only a matter of time.
If Mr. Norquist would learn a little more about the global copper industry, he might understand that, not only is the Pebble Mine unnecessary, it is precisely what we don't need -- for renewable energy or any other of copper's countless uses today.
Pebble Mine is a risk that Anglo American can no longer afford to take. If Anglo American is looking to cut expenses, this is the perfect project to drop. Because local opposition -- and the risks associated with it -- are only increasing.
While it claims independence, Keystone has to concede that its client and financial benefactor is the very partnership that wants to build the Pebble Mine and claims already to have spent over half a billion dollars pursuing it.
In May, the EPA released an assessment of the potential impacts of large-scale mining in the Bristol Bay region of Alaska. The results are sobering: the mine would generate 10 billion tons of toxic waste and eliminate thousands of acres of wetlands.
I care less about what people call themselves than which side they're on. In fact, I spend much of my time these days working with people in Alaska who don't consider themselves environmentalists -- and have no aspirations to be.
The interests of all concerned -- the region's residents, the people of Alaska, the people of the United States and the world, the wildlife of Bristol Bay, and even the mining companies themselves -- dictate that it must be abandoned.
It looks like 2012 will be the year of two salmons: one a genetically altered "Frankenfish" currently under review by the FDA, and the other an inhabitant of one of the world's last great wild salmon runs.
Bristol Bay demonstrates that some places should be left free of industrial development because their natural resource values, and the benefits they provide to people, outstrip short-term development values.
In the Lake and Peninsula Borough, the residents have approved a prohibition against large-scale resource extraction that would destroy or degrade salmon habitat. In a historic result against enormous odds, the Save Our Salmon initiative has prevailed.