Two environmentalist nonprofits purchased three conservation easements for $20 million to make lands and waters near Southern Alaska’s Bristol Bay permanently off-limits to economic development, a move that will impede the development of a mine that produces minerals that are needed to manufacture green energy technologies.
The Conservation Fund and the Bristol Bay Heritage Land Trust purchases will put over 44,000 acres of land and water off limits to development, which would prevent Pebble Mine’s operators from building a road that would transport minerals, after the Pedro Bay Corporation, an Alaska Native group, previously voted to let the nonprofits purchase the easements, according to a Thursday press release. Pebble Mine sits on an estimated 80.6 billion pounds of copper deposits and 5.6 billion pounds of molybdenum, highly conductive metals which are crucial to manufacturing solar panels, wind turbines, and constructing geothermal energy facilities.
“It’s important to recognize that mining is a valuable economic activity and provides benefits to society that can’t be derived in any other way,” Conservation Fund President Larry Seltzer said in a statement provided to the Daily Caller News Foundation. “However, not all projects should be approved, and the Pebble Mine is the wrong mine in the wrong place – up high in the watershed that supports the greatest wild salmon stronghold in the world.”
President Joe Biden wants to generate all of the country’s electricity from solar energy, wind power, and other forms of “clean” energy by 2035, up from just 40% in 2020, according to a White House fact sheet. However, the Biden administration has previously worked to block large mining projects in both Minnesota and Arizona, citing environmental concerns.