Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., requested Thursday's hearing because she says fishermen would be affected if the Pebble Mine damages the Bristol Bay salmon fishery.
She said nearly 1,000 people in Washington hold commercial permits for Bristol Bay fishing that was worth more than $113 million in 2008. Recreational salmon fishing was worth another $75 million for Washington businesses.
The copper and gold mine is proposed near the headwaters of Bristol Bay. Opponents worry about pollution and loss of habitat. Supporters say the mine would create jobs.
The EPA plans seven more hearings in Alaska and could veto the project under clean water laws.
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