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A fishing boat on its way to Bristol Bay. Luis Sinco/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images.

The Environmental Protection Agency will restore protections for Alaska's Bristol Bay, per a court filing Thursday, a move that will block the construction of a controversial gold and copper mine in the region, the Washington Post reports.

Why it matters: The policy shift, which comes in response to a lawsuit filed by natives of the area, will halt the near decade-long project that would have a significant impact on a sensitive southwest Alaskan ecosystem.

  • The bay is home to one of the largest populations of salmon in the world. A 2014 EPA assessment said it accounted for around half of the world's annual wild sockeye salmon catch.

Background: Pebble Limited Partnership, a U.S. subsidiary of Northern Dynasty Minerals, has billed the project as having "the potential to be one of the most important metal-producing projects of the 21st century," writes WashPost.

  • But the EPA's 2014 assessment said the mine would "result in complete loss of fish habitat due to elimination, dewatering, and fragmentation of streams, wetlands, and other aquatic resources."

The project was first imperiled under policies by the Obama administration's EPA before getting backing by the Trump administration.

  • But Trump's EPA reversed course following a wave of pressure from Alaska Native American communities, environmentalists, the fishing industry and some prominent conservatives, including Donald Trump Jr..
  • The Pedro Bay Corporation, an Alaskan native group, reached a deal in June with the Conservation fund to sell more than 44,000 acres of land in Bristol Bay where backers had hoped the mine would be built, closing the land to future development

What they're saying: “It is essential to the livelihood and the community well-being of many Alaskan tribes [and] it is also one of the most productive salmon fisheries in North America,” Radhika Fox, head of the EPA’s Office of Water, told WashPost Thursday.

  • Alannah Hurley, executive director of the United Tribes of Bristol Bay, described the decision as a “monumental step in the right direction," pointing out that advocates had been fighting against it for decades.

Go deeper

Ben Geman, author of Generate
8 hours ago - Energy & Environment

Key clean power provision likely won't survive in Dems' spending bill

A construction worker walks along a dirt road at the Avangrid Renewables La Joya wind farm in Encino, New Mexico, on Aug. 5, 2020. Photo: Cate Dingley/Bloomberg via Getty Images

A pillar of Democrats' plans to speed deployment of zero-carbon electricity is likely to be cut from major spending and tax legislation they are struggling to move on a party-line vote, per multiple reports and a Capitol Hill aide.

Driving the news: The New York Times, citing anonymous congressional aides and lobbyists, reports that West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin (D) has told the White House he "strongly opposes" the Clean Electricity Performance Program.

Updated 10 hours ago - World

Fatal stabbing of British MP David Amess declared a terrorist incident

Police outside Belfairs Methodist Church in Leigh-on-Sea, England, on Oct. 15. Photo: John Keeble/Getty Images

Authorities have declared the death of David Amess a terrorist incident, hours after the Conservative Party lawmaker in the U.K. was fatally stabbed while meeting with local constituents in a church in eastern England on Friday.

The big picture: The Metropolitan Police has found "a potential motivation linked to Islamist extremism."

Biden: DOJ should prosecute those who defy Jan. 6 subpoenas

President Biden speaks with reporters at Bradley International Airport in Windsor Locks, Connecticut. Photo: Brendan Smialowski/AFP via Getty Images

President Biden said Friday that the Justice Department should prosecute those who defy subpoenas from the Jan. 6 select committee.

Why it matters: The president's remarks come one day after Donald Trump ally Steve Bannon failed to show up for a deposition before the committee.