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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 Natasha Lasky, ODP Staff Writer The earth is collapsing under Russia’s northeastern towns as global warming melts the permafrost beneath them. Permafrost occupies 65% of Russia’s landmass, making this massive thawing particularly destructive. “There isn’t a single settlement in Russia’s Arctic where you wouldn’t find a destroyed or deformed building,” said Alexey Maslakov, […]
By Ashira Morris, ODP Staff Writer Heirs’ property is a type of land ownership whereby property is passed down without a will, and it’s one of the main reasons Black families in the US are losing their land. But the Mobile Basin Heirs’ Property Support Initiative announced yesterday could help families in Mississippi’s Mobile Bay […]
By Natasha Lasky, ODP Staff Writer The White House announced Friday that President Biden will use his executive authority to restore protections for three national monuments drastically reduced during the Trump Administration. He will reestablish and increase the boundaries of Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monuments, both of which are in Utah. The orders […]
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