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ENVIRONMENTAL RESTRICTIONS TO STOP THE DEVELOPMENT OF MINES IN ALASKA

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has recently launched a plan of restrictions that will prevent the development of a controversial copper and gold mine in Alaska, described as disastrous for the state’s largest salmon fishery.

According to the EPA, the mine would have a severe impact on the environment, taking up an area the size of Manhattan. Additionally, the mine would harm a fundamental ecosystem that supports an ancient fishing culture and an economic powerhouse, causing irreversible damages to one of the world’s last intact salmon ecosystems, experts show.

On the other hand, supporters of the mine argue that the EPA’s decision, that sets stricter environmental restrictions, will significantly undermine the potential economic development of the region.

The mine, located in south-west Alaska near Bristol Bay, would have been one of the largest opencast mines in the world. The EPA argue that the project was unacceptable for the environmental safety, for those who rely on the salmon in Bristol Bay for work, and for the Native community who consider the area  integral to their way of life.

In 2011, the EPA, petitioned by Alaska Native tribes and others to protect Bristol Bay, initiated a review that culminated in the finding earlier this year that large-scaling mining in the Bristol Bay watershed posed significant risks to salmon and Alaska Native cultures that rely on the fish

Related to that, the EPA is strengthening its efforts in order to undertake concrete measures to develop a healthy economy. In this context, environmental groups have strongly suggested that protecting Bristol Bay represents a challenging and a crucial issue.

 

The gLAWcal Team

and

the team of University Institute for European Studies (IUSE), Turin, POREEN project

Friday, 18 July 2014

(source: The Guardian)