Help Protect Bristol Bay

thumbnail.jpgAs you may have heard the next chapter in the Bristol Bay Pebble Mine dilemma is unfolding and we need you (and your friends) to take a minute to provide comments on the proposal. Here’s what’s at stake in Bristol Bay…

  • Bristol Bay’s wild rivers, wetlands and frontier land supports the world’s largest remaining wild salmon fishery, 35 fish species (all 5 species of Pacific Salmon) and 46% of the global abundance of wild sockeye
  • Wild, undisturbed wildlife habitat for moose, caribou, bear and large populations of migratory waterfowl
  • The subsistence way of life for Alaska Native villages is alive and well in Bristol Bay and wild harvested fish and wildlife accounts for 80% of the protein consumed in the region
  • 14,000 Jobs that depend on the Sportfishing, Hunting, Outdoor recreation, Commercial fishing, Subsistence lifestyle that Bristol Bay supports

After being asked by a broad coalition of interests to deny a Clean Water Act 404 permit to the massive Pebble Mine Proposal, the EPA developed a Bristol Bay Watershed Assessment. The Assessment was then peer reviewed by a select group of scientists and the revised version of the Draft Watershed Assessment is now open for a 30 day public comment period. That’s where you come in. Key findings from the assessment suggest that the Pebble Mine proposal will result in:

  • Direct loss of 55 to 85 miles of streams, 4 to 6.7 square miles of wetlands – and if fully developed, a potential loss of up to 114 miles of stream and a 30 square miles of wild country for tailings storage facilities
  • 10.7 billion tons of mine waste 20x the size of all mines in Alaska (3,000 lbs. of waste rock for every person on the planet)
  • Toxic Mine waste stored behind 740’ high 4 mile long tailing dam – largest earthen dam in the world located upstream of the world’s largest salmon run.
  • Construction of a 100 mile road, 100 mile slurry pipeline, a power plant big enough to power Anchorage – all to open a 54 square mile mining district.

Please, take a minute to submit your comments on this monumental decision, either directly by submitting an email to the EPA, with Docket# EPA-HQ-ORD-2013-0189 in the subject line. Below is sample text which can be used in the email:

Thank you to the EPA for the diligent work, transparent process and extensive scientific review in evaluating the destructive impacts of large-scale mining in the Bristol Bay, Alaska region through its Bristol Bay Watershed Assessment.

Your report makes clear that we cannot wait any longer to protect Bristol Bay’s natural resources, native peoples, commercial fishing jobs and industry, and tremendous recreational opportunities from the unavoidable consequences of mega mining. Bristol Bay and its healthy sockeye fishery supports 14,000 jobs across multiple industries and generates more than $1 billion in revenue and value every year. It also supplies nearly half of the global supply of sockeye salmon.

It is time for the Pebble Partnership to stop playing games and politics with what are clearly unacceptable impacts. The EPA’s Assessment finds that even without a catastrophe or series of harmful spills, up to 90 miles of salmon streams and up to 4,300 acres of vital salmon habitat will be destroyed by mining the deposit. That alone should be enough to stop this project, but add in the unsupportable notion that up to 10 billion tons of toxic mine waste will be stored, treated and monitored “in perpetuity,” and it becomes clear that action is required to protect Bristol Bay now.

I ask that you immediately initiate use of the Clean Water Act to restrict inappropriate development activities such as the proposed Pebble Mine, while allowing reasonable development to proceed.


Photo Credit - Bendan Burns

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