Trump’s EPA wants to put a toxic mine in pristine Alaska. What could possibly go wrong?
Pebble Mine is just the latest story of greedy men exploiting nature for profit, and leaving us with the nasty side-effects
Back in my youth, while in Montana, I came across Berkeley Pit, called “the richest hill on earth.” There, churches and historic neighborhoods were bulldozed to expand the pit so greedy men could make their fortunes mining copper, silver and gold. After the riches were extracted, and problems arose, those men absolved themselves of any wrongdoing, and left. Over time, the mine closed and the pit began to fill with an acidic brew so toxic that when snow geese landed there, they died. As it threatened Montana’s groundwater, the pit became an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) superfund site that would cost American taxpayers billions of dollars for generations.
I fear the same awaits Alaska’s Pebble Mine, a nightmare proposed by the Canadian mining company, Northern Dynasty. Don’t be fooled by the name. For many Alaskans, Pebble is a boulder on their heart. If built, it would be a massive pit one mile in diameter and 600ft deep. It would obliterate 3,500 acres of wetlands and 80-plus miles of salmon streams, and produce an estimated 10 billion tons of waste. Earthen dams would hold back toxic mine tailings, all in earthquake country, in the headwaters of Bristol Bay, the richest sockeye salmon run in the world. What could go wrong?