The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency today issued a draft assessment of the Bristol Bay watershed, and whether large-scale mining could harm its famed salmon runs.
The assessment was done in response to the clamor over the proposed Pebble copper and gold mine, although the EPA says it didn't focus in-depth on any specific project.
Bottom line is, the EPA report "concludes that there is potential for certain activities associated with large-scale mining to have adverse impacts on the productivity and sustainability of the salmon fishery in the watershed."
The EPA stops far short, however, of declaring that major mining projects in the Bristol Bay watershed should be forbidden right here and now.
Find the full assessment report here. And here's an EPA press release.