"Large stretches of salmon-spawning streams and thousands of acres of wetlands would be wiped out if a large-scale mining project were to be built in southwestern Alaska's copper-rich Bristol Bay region, according to a report issued Friday by the Environmental Protection Agency."
"The report, while not directly addressing it, is a potential blow to the massive Pebble copper and gold mine operation proposed by an international alliance of mining interests, and opposed by environmentalists and local native groups.
Risks from building and operating such a big mine, or series of mines, range from the near-certain loss of wetlands and streams and chronic water pollution to a remote possibility of a catastrophic breach in a tailings dam planned to be taller than the Washington Monument, the report said.
The report uses elements of the Pebble plan and other information about modern mining practices to project a future scenario, an EPA manager said Friday, but the agency made it clear it is not pre-judging the Pebble mine issue."
Yereth Rosen reports for Reuters May 21, 2012.