Trout Unlimited has long opposed the proposed Pebble Mine, which would be situated in the headwaters of two river that feed into Alaska's famed Bristol Bay.
One of the world's most productive wild salmon strongholds, Bristol Bay supports a $500 million commercial and sport fishery. Few places like it remain. It is unspoiled, and it is vulnerable.
The Pebble Mine would be one of the largest in the world, spanning more than 20 square miles. Because of its size, geochemistry and location, there is a high risk that pollution from acid drainage and metal leaching will foul Bristol Bay.
In light of the recent release of a draft watershed assessment by the Environmental Assessment Agency, Chris Wood, President and CEO of trout Unlimited, has written a letter to TU members asking them to take action to protect Bristol Bay.
Here's his letter:
The EPA has released its draft watershed assessment for Bristol Bay. EPA, not surprisingly found that the rivers of Bristol Bay support the world’s largest sockeye salmon runs (46% of the “global abundance” of sockeye) and its Chinook runs are near the world’s largest every year. Did I mention the fact they also have 30” plus native rainbows?
The study notes that the fishery supports 14,000 sustainable jobs every year, and generates more than $600 million in total economic impact. And while the EPA makes no pronouncements or decisions through this document, one fact becomes very clear in reading through the document. Bristol Bay is the wrong place to allow industrial scale mining.
The Alaska program, led by Tim Bristol and Shoren Brown, has done a fantastic job of building support for protecting Bristol Bay. Unlike most Alaska conservation issues, the support for protecting the area starts with the affected Native Alaska villages, and resonates throughout the state. In fact, the strongest allies for protecting Bristol Bay are the native villages in the region and commercial fishermen.
Just yesterday, the Republican President of the State Senate called for EPA to do what is necessary to protect the area from industrial scale mining.
The job of convincing the Obama Administration to take action before January 20, 2013, now begins in earnest. Please take 5 minutes and go to...
... and ask the President to initiate the Clean Water Act process that will enable EPA to limit industrial scale mining in Bristol Bay. Ask your friends and family to do the same.
Chris Wood President and CEO Trout Unlimited