The Pebble Project is owned by Anglo American and Northern Dynasty (in which Rio Tinto is a major shareholder).
News from Earthworks Action (
The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) said on Monday 7th February that it will “conduct a scientific assessment of the Bristol Bay watershed to better understand how future large-scale development projects may affect water quality and Bristol Bay’s salmon fishery.”  The agency said it is acting in response to petitions last year from nine Alaska Native tribes, commercial fishermen and others. See!OpenDocument.
The tribes and commercial fishing groups had asked the EPA to initiate a provision of the Clean Water Act known as Section 404 (c), which gives EPA the authority to restrict waste dumping in important waters of the United States. Since the Pebble mine would dump up to 10 billion tons of waste at the headwaters of Bristol Bay, invoking Section 404 (c) would have significant implications for the project. The EPA’s action on Monday does not go that far, but “represents EPA’s proactive steps to better understand the watershed and gather important scientific information.” said EPA Regional Administrator Dennis McLerran speaking to the Anchorage Daily News.
This significant move has been welcomed by local people and organisations:
– “We applaud the EPA for recognizing the importance of protecting the world’s most important wild salmon fishery, the basis of both a $400-million-a-year industry” said Bob Waldrop of the Bristol Bay Regional Seafood Development Association, which represents commercial fishermen. “We’re confident that this scientific review will show clearly why Bristol Bay should be protected by Section 404 (c).”
– Kim Williams, executive director of Nunamta Alukestai, Caretakers of the Land, in Dillingham, Alaska, called the EPA decision to conduct its own scientific assessment a positive step forward. “We are all trying to protect the salmon, the wildlife, the habitat that the fish, animals and birds rely on,” she said. “We feel the science will be there to support Bristol Bay.”
For more on this story see the Anchorage Daily News: