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Pedro Bay Corp., an Alaska Native group, has struck a blow to the controversial Pebble Mine project, which had promised to be the largest gold mine in North America. Located near Alaska’s famed Bristol Bay, development on the site threatened to damage the largest sockeye salmon fishery in the world, one that locals and Indigenous communities rely on for food and income. Only now made public, the corporation’s shareholders voted by a landslide to allow The Conservation Fund to buy easements on more than 44,000 acres, making the mining road off-limits to developers. Among other continuing threats to Alaska’s landscape, Indigenous communities and environmentalists are taking a moment to celebrate the win.
Pedro Bay Corp. had the support of some bizarre bedfellows. Donald Trump Jr., who frequently fished in the region, Fox News’s Tucker Carlson, and a small group of Republicans launched a campaign that prompted the Trump White House to reassess the mine. More predictable allies arrived from the commercial fishing industry, and in November, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers denied the permit for the mine. With the addition of the Biden administration’s opposition, Pebble mine has few allies left.
The End of the Road
Now, strategic parts of the proposed mine land are off-limits to developers. Pedro Bay Corp. will receive nearly $20 million in exchange for the land rights, including $500,000 for education and cultural programs in local communities. The land covers a critical route that Pebble Mine’s developers planned to use to move ore out of the massive pit mine. One blocked route may not seem like a death sentence, but officials say it might as well be. “I would say if it’s not the nail in the coffin, it’s just waiting for the last tap of the hammer,” Tim Troll, executive director of the Bristol Bay Heritage Land Trust, told The Washington Post, “I just don’t see any way that they could do this.” Sarah Thiele, a board member of Pedro Bay Corp., says that they’ve successfully done what they set out to do. “I feel like we are doing our mission of preserving our heritage and our pristine lands from any development,” she said. “That is totally our identity, the fish and our land.”
by Amy Lupica, ODP Staff Writer A condo collapse in Miami is prompting new conversations about the threats rising sea levels and flooding present to the nation’s infrastructure. Experts say that it’s too early to determine whether or not climate change contributed to the partial collapse of the Champlain Towers. But they also warn that as sea levels rise […]
by Ashira Morris, ODP Staff Writer Louisiana loses almost a football field of land each day, caused by a combination of climate change-fueled sea level rise, reduced sediment flow from the Mississippi River, and the land gradually sinking. One area that’s not slipping underwater: Avery Island, the birthplace of Tabasco hot sauce that’s still the […]
by Amy Lupica, ODP Staff Writer Florida Governor Ron DeSantis and part of the state Cabinet have approved a highway extension spanning a portion of the Everglades. The move rejects a 2020 recommended order from Administrative Law Judge Suzanne Van Wyk, claiming that the project was incompatible with continued efforts to establish protections in the region. Legal challenges are […]
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