Trump Jr. expresses opposition to Pebble Mine project

Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpFederal prosecutor speaks out, says Barr 'has brought shame' on Justice Dept. Former Pence aide: White House staffers discussed Trump refusing to leave office Progressive group buys domain name of Trump's No. 1 Supreme Court pick MORE Jr. on Tuesday expressed opposition to the controversial Pebble Mine project, which moved a step closer to reality after the conclusion of an environmental assessment last month. 

“The headwaters of Bristol Bay and the surrounding fishery are too unique and fragile to take any chances with. #PebbleMine,” the president’s son tweeted. 

His tweet came in agreement to a similar sentiment expressed by Nick Ayers, former chief of staff to Vice President Pence. 

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“Like millions of conservationists and sportsmen, I am hoping @realDonaldTrump will direct @EPA to block the Pebble mine in Bristol Bay,” Ayers tweeted. “A Canadian company will unnecessarily mine the USA's greatest fishery at a severe cost. This should be stopped and I believe  @POTUS will do so!” 

Trump Jr.’s tweet comes on the heels of an administration environmental impact assessment on the proposed gold and copper mine that moved it one step closer to construction. 

The assessment by the Army Corps of Engineers determined that the mine wouldn’t impact salmon harvests in the area, reversing an Obama-era determination that it would.

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“There would be no measurable change in the number of returning salmon,” said the new assessment that was published last month. 

It also said the project “would not be expected to have a measurable effect on fish numbers and result in long-term changes to the health of the commercial fisheries in Bristol Bay. “

The Bristol Bay area where the mine would be located is the world’s largest commercial sockeye salmon-producing region and opponents of the mine fear its discharges could contaminate local waters. 

The assessment did say that wetlands and streams will see impacts from the mine. It’s expected to permanently affect between 2,226 and 2,261 acres of wetlands and other waters, including between 104.1 and 105.8 miles of streams.

The EPA proposed under the Obama administration to preemptively veto a permit for the mine. The Trump administration reversed this action last year.

A spokesperson for The Pebble Limited Partnership, which is behind the mine, told The Hill in an email that he believes the Army Corps of Engineers will make a final decision on the project "in the next few months."
 
"The Final EIS [environmental impact statement]...shows that both Donald Trump Jr. and Nick Ayers are wrong. The EIS concludes that Pebble mine will not harm the Bristol Bay salmon fishery," said spokesperson Mike Heatwole. "We do not believe that the President will interfere with this statutory process."
 
Updated 5:40 p.m.