Carl Safina is a professor of journalism at Stony Brook University and the founder and president of the Safina Center. Joel Reynolds is western director and senior attorney at the Natural Resources Defense Council.
The Bristol Bay watershed, in southwest Alaska, comprises 40,000 square miles of bogs and evergreen forests, rimmed by distant mountains and shimmering with rivers and feeder streams. In these waterways, miracles happen. Together they sustain the largest remaining salmon fishery on Earth.
For more than a decade, a Canadian mining company, Northern Dynasty Minerals, has wanted to gouge one of the world’s largest gold and copper mines into the heart of the watershed, putting its rivers on a centuries-long poison drip.
The company has failed to move forward with the project, known as Pebble Mine, due to intense and sustained opposition. It has also been burdened by proposed restrictions recommended by the Obama-era Environmental Protection Agency — the result of a four-year review.
But President Trump’s EPA administrator, Scott Pruitt, has rejected his agency’s review and moved to withdraw its proposal to impose restrictions on the mine, thereby reviving the company’s prospects for federal permitting. Pruitt is poised to take this action imminently, showing a flagrant disregard for the public’s overwhelming opposition.
Now, in what could very well be the most important land-use decision in North America in our time, an essentially eternal supply of food is pitted against an essentially eternal supply of poison.
For the rest of this opinion column: http://www.latimes.com/opinion/op-ed/la-oe-safina-reynolds-pebble-mine-pruitt-20171109-story.html