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May 212012

From Yale 360 Environment

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency warns that the proposed large-scale Pebble Mine development in the hills above Alaska’s Bristol Bay could cause devastating habitat loss for the world’s largest sockeye salmon fishery.

In a draft report, EPA officials calculate that proposals to mine the region — which include an open-pit mine producing 2 billion to 6.5 billion metric tons of copper, gold, and molybdenum ore — could destroy up to 87 miles of streams and nearly seven square miles of wetlands. The EPA also said large-scale mining could make the region vulnerable to catastrophic accidents — including the possible release of acid, metals, and other waste from the mine sites — that could potentially destroy more than 30 miles of salmon-bearing streams leading into Bristol Bay, which hosts runs of roughly 30 million salmon annually.

“We conclude that, at a minimum, mining at this scale would cause the loss of spawning and rearing habitat for multiple species of anadromous and resident fish,” the draft assessment states. Even before its release, the 339-page assessment was denounced by critics, including some in Congress who question the EPA’s authority to regulate the mine proposal.

Sep 102008

By Shermakaye Bass

Republican presidential candidate Arizona Sen. John McCain, who has historically opposed drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR), has been uncharacteristically taciturn on the energy issue since he chose pro-drilling Alaskan Gov. Sarah Palin as his running mate.

Green-energy proponents find that ominous.

“With the pick of Alaska Governor Sarah Palin for his running mate, John McCain’s race towards the Bush administration’s failed energy policy is now complete,” Sierra Club executive director Carl Pope said recently. “… No one is closer to the the oil industry than Governor Palin. Along with her support for drilling in the Arctic Wildlife Refuge and off our coasts, she also opposes a windfall profit tax on the richest oil companies. …She has been dismissive of alternative energy, saying ‘alternative-energy solutions are far from imminent and would require more than 10 years to develop’, when in reality it is the oil she would like to drill that would take a decade to bring to market.”

The League of Conservation Voters (LCV) in Washington, D.C., showed a similar concern over Palin.

“Obviously, it’s a very disappointing pick for a (presidential) candidate who at one time made a priority of getting us away from the old fossil fuels of the past – Sen. McCain,” said David Sandretti, the League’s communications director. Continue reading »