I’ve written about the Pebble Mine in a number of posts.
It had seemed that the consortium’s efforts to build an open pit mine that would have threatened Alaska’s Bristol Bay were over after the final major partner pulled out.
However, it appears they’re planning another environmental disaster.
Now the consortium has applied for a permit to mine gold, copper, and molybdenum in land 200 miles south of Anchorage – the sought permit will be in an area as close as several hundred yards from the boundary of the McNeil River State Game Reserve and Sanctuary.
If you’ve not heard of the McNeil River you’ve undoubtedly seen photos of tourists safely watching nearby large Alaskan brown bears hunting and feeding on salmon. For 51 years humans and bears have been able to develop a sense of trust in the other as humans can get very close to bears that would tower over NFL defensive tackles – in all that time no human has been killed or injured by the bears.
Now this proposal, if approved, could destroy the sanctuary as the mining and roads will destroy habitat, increase pressure for legal hunting and certainly increase poaching.
There is still time to fight this. The Army Corps of Engineers is accepting public comment until June 29th.
You, or I, may never visit the McNeil River sanctuary. But as Wallace Stegner noted, knowing that wild places exist – whole and untamed and apart from us, is sometimes just enough.
You can read more here.