February 4, 2015
CONTACT: Zack Fields
(907) 258-3077
Pebble Mine Dam Designers Faulted for Mount Polley Blowout

Investigation into Mt. Polley dam failure raises further doubts about safety of Pebble plans

ANCHORAGE:  An investigation into the Mt. Polley dam blowout has found that the tailings dam was designed incorrectly, and that the poor design was largely responsible for the dam blowout.  The same firm that designed Mt. Polley’s dam also designed proposed tailings pond dams for Pebble Partnership.  Release of mine tailings can devastate salmon populations.

“This investigation into the Mt. Polley blowout raises even more concerns about Pebble’s impacts on Bristol Bay,” said Mike Wenstrup, Chair of the Alaska Democratic Party.  “It is very troubling that Pebble Partnership is using designs from the same firm that failed to build a safe tailings dam at Mt. Polley.”

The designers of Mt. Polley’s dam and proposed dams at Pebble previously tried to deflect blame for the Mt. Polley blowout, but the investigation into Mt. Polley confirms the dam design itself was fatally flawed.

Legislation introduced by Louisiana Senator David Vitter would green-light the Pebble Mine at the federal level by gutting Section 404(c) of the Clean Water Act.  Polls consistently show that over 60% of Alaskans oppose Pebble Mine, and 66% of voters supported the “Bristol Bay Forever” ballot measure, which discourages development of the mine.