Major Land Agreement Could Be “Nail in the Coffin” for Alaska’s Pebble Mine

The gold and copper mine threatens to destroy the world’s most prolific sockeye salmon fishery.

Commercial fisherman in Bristol Bay in 2009Christopher S. Miller/Design Pics/Zuma

Fight disinformation: Sign up for the free Mother Jones Daily newsletter and follow the news that matters.

In a major win for conservationists, an Alaska Native corporation that owns 44,000 acres of land near Bristol Bay just voted to sell conservation easements to an environmental nonprofit, likely thwarting efforts to build a gold and copper mine that could destroy the world’s most prolific sockeye salmon fishery.

The potential purchase is the culmination of years of about 40 years of fighting between the mining industry and the people who cherish the salmon in Bristol Bay—Alaska Natives, environmentalists, commercial fishermen, and even the Republican senators who represent them. The 82-mile road for transporting ore and the potential contamination from the proposed Pebble Mine threaten to destroy the salmon’s habitat. But the purchase of conservation easements on a huge swath of land by the nonprofit the Conservation Fund, first reported by the Washington Post, could protect the area against future developments—including the mining operation’s planned road. 

Tim Troll, executive director of the Bristol Bay Heritage Land Trust, told the Post, “I would say if it’s not the nail in the coffin, it’s just waiting for the last tap of the hammer.”

This story has been updated to clarify that the Alaska Native corporation, the Pedro Bay Corporation, will still own the land.

MOTHER JONES NEEDS YOUR HELP

We have about a $200,000 funding gap and less than a week to go in our hugely important First $500,000 fundraising campaign. We urgently need your help, and a lot of help, this week so we can pay for the one-of-a-kind journalism you get from us.

Learn more in “Less Dreading, More Doing,” where we lay out this wild moment and how we can keep charging hard for you. And please help if you can: $5, $50, or $500—every gift from every person truly matters right now.

payment methods

MOTHER JONES NEEDS YOUR HELP

We have about a $200,000 funding gap and less than a week to go in our hugely important First $500,000 fundraising campaign. We urgently need your help, and a lot of help, this week so we can pay for the one-of-a-kind journalism you get from us.

Learn more in “Less Dreading, More Doing,” where we lay out this wild moment and how we can keep charging hard for you. And please help if you can: $5, $50, or $500—every gift from every person truly matters right now.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate