In a statement to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) this week, 29 Anglo American investors expressed concern about negative impacts the proposed Pebble Mine may have on the Bristol Bay ecosystem, its people, and mining and fishing industries worldwide. Investors urged the EPA to start a review process that could lead to a 404(c) ruling to prohibit or restrict the disposal of mine waste into waters in the Bristol Bay area.
Led by Trillium Asset Management Corporation and Calvert Investments, firms that specialize in socially responsible and environmentally responsible investing, the investor group represents over $170 billion in assets and owns more than 13 million shares in Anglo American, a global mining company that is a 50-percent partner in the development of the proposed Pebble Mine.
“The EPA’s authority under 404(c) can have an important role to play in addressing the financial impacts of ecosystem degradation, which are borne by society at large, investors and business,” the investors write. “We urge the EPA to initiate its 404(c) review process to evaluate the potential mine waste impacts associated with the proposed Pebble Mine project. We believe that initiating the 404(c) review process now is a responsible and crucial step, given the potentially significant risks associated with the proposed Pebble Mine.”
Signers to the document include a wide range of firms and organizations that subscribe to sustainable or socially and environmentally responsible investing practices—from an investment firm in Oregon, to Unitarian Universalist and Catholic religious organizations representing more than a thousand congregations or institutions each.
With their statement, Anglo American investors join a number of interests that have urged the EPA to exercise its 404(c) authority. These include conservation groups, tribal governments, and sporting and fishing groups. The EPA is currently conducting a scientific watershed assessment of the Bristol Bay area in response to these concerns. Public input will be part of that process.
More About 404(c)
Under Section 404(c) of the Clean Water Act, the EPA may prohibit or restrict discharges of dredged or fill material into waters of the United States, including wetlands, when it determines that such discharges would have an unacceptable adverse effect on municipal water supplies, shellfish beds and fishery areas (including spawning and breeding areas), wildlife, or recreational areas.