We’ve reported before on the proposed Pebble Mine complex, slated for a site near waterways that support the world’s largest sockeye salmon runs.
For that background, see “Locals Protest Alaska Gold Mine Plans” and visit the Fishing & Sustainability section of our news archive.
The December, 2010 issue of National Geographic magazine offers an update on the proposed mine and the battle over its approval, in “Alaska’s Choice: Salmon or Gold.”
Their article title puts the stark reality in high relief.
Over time, heavy metals from the proposed gold and copper mines could pollute the rivers where millions of sockeye salmon spawn.
And the sorry history of hard rock mining the in U.S.—filled with broken promises of clean operations—warrants fear that the rivers will be contaminated, which would almost certainly devastate the sockeye runs.
Sockeye and other wild salmon are exquisitely attuned to the levels of metals in their birth rivers, and even slight changes can wreck their navigation systems, thereby condemning the fish in affected “runs” to extinction.
We urge you to read the Nat Geo account, and if inclined, view a brief video and/or sign a petition to the mining company, at NRDC.
Since the mining consortium is unlikely to be moved by anyone's plea or threats, we suggest that you also copy and send our modified version of that petition (below) to your Congresspersons. (Click here to get contact info for your Representative and Senators.)