It’s one of the most controversial mining projects in the United States, and it’s sparked heated debate among Alaskans for more than a decade.
Last week, Gov. Bill Walker urged the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to suspend a key environmental impact study of the proposed Pebble Mine in the Bristol Bay watershed, home to the world’s largest wild salmon fishery. The move would effectively stall the project, which Pebble claims is the largest undeveloped copper deposit in the world.
In a press release last Saturday, Walker said there were too many unanswered questions for the important review to advance further — adding that Pebble has not demonstrated to Alaskans that the proposed mine is feasible and realistic and that without a preliminary economic assessment the Corps would be unable to thoroughly vet alternative plans of development.
“I think that the governor’s action has a lot more to do with politics than policy,” Mike Heatwole, a spokesperson for Pebble Limited Partnership said Sunday. “Because all of the questions, the high bar that the governor has put out there, are exactly the type of issues that should be resolved and looked at and evaluated through the regulatory process.”