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EPA Issues Clean Water Act Protections for Alaska’s Bristol Bay

HeadlineFeb 01, 2023

The Environmental Protection Agency announced federal protections for Alaska’s Bristol Bay watershed under the Clean Water Act, in a major victory for environmentalists and Indigenous groups, which have fought against the development of Pebble Mine for over two decades. The move will bar a proposed gold and copper mine that would have destroyed the world’s largest sockeye salmon fishery. Alannah Hurley, executive director of the United Tribes of Bristol Bay, said, “The EPA has not only restored its commitment to science and law but truly listened to the original stewards and first peoples’ of this land.”

Meanwhile, the Biden administration is expected to greenlight a scaled-down oil and gas development project in northern Alaska led by ConocoPhillips known as the Willow project. Environmental and Indigenous groups have long warned it would disrupt fragile wildlife and contribute to the climate crisis.

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