Alaska Natives offer a "quyana" or "thank you" in the Yupik language to former president Barack Obama for putting a stop to the controversial Pebble Mine on Native fishing grounds in Bristol Bay. Photo: United Tribes of Bristol Bay

Environmental Protection Agency opens door to mine on Native territory

The Environmental Protection Agency said it will consult with tribes and Alaska Native corporations about a controversial gold mine that many of them oppose.

The public also can comment on the EPA's proposal to withdraw Clean Water Act protections for Bristol Bay. Withdrawing the protections will clear the way for the approval of the Pebble Mine on Native fishing grounds.

"We won't take this lying down," Alannah Hurley, the executive director of United Tribes of Bristol Bay, which represents Native opponents of the mine, told Alaska Dispatch News.

In May, the Trump administration entered into a settlement with a Canadian company that wants to mine for gold and copper within the the largest sockeye salmon fishery in the world. That's a major turnaround from the Obama era, when the project had effectively been put on hold due to concerns raised by tribes, non-Native fisherman and other groups.

A notice of the proposed withdrawal will be published in the Federal Register in the coming days. The document does not provide any specifics about tribal consultation.

Read More on the Story:
EPA moves to cancel proposed restrictions at Pebble prospect (Alaska Dispatch News 7/11)
EPA takes step toward ending ‘pre-emptive veto’ of Pebble Mine (Alaska Public Media 7/11)
Controversial Alaskan gold mine could be revived under Trump’s EPA (The Washington Post 7/11)
EPA taking comments on lifting proposed mine restrictions (AP 7/11)
EPA moves to roll back proposed restrictions on Alaska's Pebble Mine (The Hill 7/11)

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