"The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on Friday said it intends to take extraordinary action to protect Bristol Bay’s world-class salmon runs and unparalleled natural habitat from destruction by the proposed Pebble mine. But the agency is stopping short of blocking the mine outright and instead is proposing caps on how many miles of streams and acres of wetlands could be lost.
The restrictions would prevent the mega-mine proposed by the Pebble Ltd. Partnership, an open pit for copper and gold extraction that EPA says would be nearly as deep as the Grand Canyon. Even a much smaller one wouldn’t be allowed under the proposal. But mine operators could scale back and design a less destructive mine, EPA said.
Pebble, notified of the proposal just before it was published early Friday on the Federal Register, called it 'outrageous.' EPA’s work on Pebble already is the subject of a federal lawsuit, a watchdog agency review and harsh criticism from Republican political leaders. Just this week, a U.S. House committee approved a bill to keep EPA from blocking the mine."