EPA Announces Next Steps in Process to Protect Bristol Bay Watershed Under Clean Water Act Authority

EPA

Today, EPA announced a timeframe for the agency to consider new information available to determine next steps in the Bristol Bay Clean Water Act (CWA) Section 404(c) process for the Pebble Deposit (Pebble Mine) in Southwest Alaska. If a CWA 404(c) determination is finalized, it would help protect waters over the long term that are essential to commercial, subsistence, and recreational fisheries, and other activities that support Alaska Natives and communities in the state.

“The Bristol Bay Watershed supports the largest sockeye salmon fishery in the world and highlights the essential benefits that clean water provides to the environment and to communities across the country,” said EPA Region 10 Acting Regional Administrator Michelle Pirzadeh. “Today’s announcement underscores EPA’s commitment to making science-based decisions to protect our natural environment, prevent pollution, and protect a sustainable future for all Americans.”

On Oct. 29, 2021, the Alaska District court ruled in favor of EPA’s request to remand and vacate the agency’s Aug. 30, 2019 withdrawal of its 2014 Bristol Bay Proposed Determination issued under CWA Section 404(c) (2014 PD). This ruling reinstated the 2014 PD, reinitiated the CWA Section 404(c) process, and triggered regulatory deadlines.

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