Pebble Mine Permit Denied - Cantwell Continues Push for Permanent Protections for Critical Watershed

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA), the Ranking Member of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, released the following statement after the Army Corps of Engineers denied a permit for the proposed Pebble Mine in Bristol Bay, Alaska: 

“The science is clear: the Pebble Mine could have destroyed the Bristol Bay ecosystem and the millions of wild salmon that depend on it. So I’m pleased but not surprised the Corps finally denied the permit for this ill-conceived megaproject. I look forward to working with the incoming administration and the Alaska delegation to establish permanent protections for Bristol Bay and promote more sustainable economic opportunities for the local communities living around these irreplaceable lands. Healthy salmon runs are the backbone of our fishing and outdoor economy throughout the region, and we must do everything we can to protect it.”

Today’s decision comes after the Army Corps of Engineers decided in August that the Pebble Mine project could not move forward as proposed due to the substantial adverse environmental impacts the project could have on the Bristol Bay watershed. 

Senator Cantwell has been leading the fight to protect Alaska’s Bristol Bay—one of the largest salmon fisheries in the world—and the fishermen and industries that rely on these salmon.  The seafood sector makes up 60 percent of the 30 billion dollar maritime economy in Washington state, which as a whole supports over 146,000 jobs.

Cantwell has been vocal about the devastation that Pebble Mine could bring to the Pacific Northwest, repeatedly criticizing various members of the administration for downplaying the threat of the mine. In September, Cantwell called for a Department of Justice investigation to examine discrepancies between what company executives promoting the Pebble Mine in Bristol Bay, Alaska, said in leaked tapes and how they characterized the project’s scope and plans in legally-binding documents. In October of 2017, Cantwell and other members of the Washington state congressional delegation urged President Trump to listen to Washington fishermen and businesses before removing protections from Bristol Bay. In May 2018, Cantwell called on the Trump administration to hold public meetings in Washington state on the proposal and increase transparency for the permitting process. In July 2019, Cantwell slammed the Trump administration’s decision to withdraw protections for Bristol Bay.