April 14, 2011
Investors Urge EPA to Review Proposed Alaska Pebble Mine
by Robert Kropp
Led by Calvert and Trillium Asset Management, the investor coalition joins local activists to warn
of potential ecosystem degradation if permits for proposed mine are approved.
The Bristol Bay region in southwest Alaska is home to the richest commercial wild salmon fishery in
the world. According to Our Bristol Bay,
"everything - communities, jobs, and the health of the entire ecosystem from grizzlies on down the
food chain," depends upon the continued health of the wild salmon population there.
Given the pristine nature of the extensive wilderness around Bristol Bay, and the
dependence of the economy on the commercial fishing activities there, local organizations have
risen up in protest over a pebble mine planned for the area by the UK-based Anglo American and
Northern Dynasty, a Canadian mining company. The consortium, the Pebble Limited Partnership (PLP),
plans to apply for federal and state permits in spring of 2011, according to Save Bristol Bay, one of the local organizations.
Now, a coalition of investors, led by Calvert
Investments and Trillium Asset
Management and representing over $170 billion in assets under management, have urged the US
Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) "to initiate a review process under the Clean Water Act to
evaluate the mine waste impacts of the proposed Pebble Mine," according to a press release.
"This proposed mine has
potentially devastating consequences for the people and the ecosystem of Bristol Bay," stated Jonas
Kron, vice president at Trillium, thereby necessitating an EPA review.
A report on the
environmental performance of Anglo American, the world's second-largest mining company, raises
further concern, stating, "Whether it is the poor safety record of its platinum and formerly owned
gold mines, the failure to control acid mine drainage in Zimbabwe, the repeated spills of mine
waste into communities in Ghana and South Africa, the mercury air pollution in the US, degraded
rivers in Ireland, or the unfair treatment of subsistence villagers displaced from their land in
places such as South Africa, Anglo American can hardly be considered a model of good corporate
"Ecosystem degradation is of serious concern to investors," Stu Dalheim,
director of shareholder advocacy at Calvert, stated. "A recent United Nations report showed
environmental costs from global human activity equate to an estimated US$ 6.6 trillion –
approximately 11% of global GDP in 2008."
By 2050, the report continued, "global
environmental costs are projected to reach $28.6 trillion, equivalent to 18% of GDP," in a