From Trout Unlimited:
In a stunning announcement this week, international mining giant Anglo American said it was abandoning its claim to the wildly controversial Pebble Mine proposal in salmon and trout rich Bristol Bay, Alaska. Anglo executives said they have decided to pursue projects with less risks and more value.
This is a significant step towards protection for Bristol Bay and we all should take a moment to celebrate. You, our supporters, should be proud. Our diverse and constantly growing network of people who care about Bristol Bay – local residents, salmon consumers, commercial fishermen and sportsmen and women around the country – are making the difference on one of the most pressing trout and salmon conservation issues of our time.
But, the fight is far from over. Northern Dynasty, the remaining partner in the Pebble Partnership, has indicated it still fully intends to pursue the Pebble Mine, which, according to the Environmental Protection Agency would destroy up to 90 miles of salmon streams and up 4,800 acres of wetland salmon spawning habitat – even if nothing ever went wrong.
The news of Anglo American’s decision to abandon the Pebble project comes after over 650,000 people expressed support for protecting Bristol Bay during on the EPA’s most recent round of public comment. Three out of four people who commented on the Bristol Bay Watershed Assessment believed that the EPA was right in examining the effects of large-scale hard rock mining on this valuable fishery. I know that many of you were among those who weighed in.
But wait, it gets better. Here in Alaska the numbers are even more convincing.
Statewide, 84 percent of Alaskan commenters supported EPA’s scientific process and subsequent protective action via the Clean Water Act. This level of support for conservation measures does not come along every day in the Last Frontier. And even more incredible, 98 percent of the comments submitted by residents of the Bristol Bay region were in support of EPA’s work.
It is unquestionably clear that a vast majority of Americans want Clean Water Act protections for Bristol Bay and Trout Unlimited’s strategic, steady work with sportsmen, local residents and commercial fishermen is making a difference.
The EPA should quickly finalize its Bristol Bay Watershed Assessment and use its Clean Water Act authority to ensure the long-term protection of Bristol Bay and its fishery. The science supports it, Alaskans support it, and hunters and anglers across the lower 48 support the EPA as well. It’s time for our political leaders to come to grips with what business leaders are already realizing: The Pebble Mine is a risk we can’t afford to take.
Please send this letter to help make it clear to our political leaders that we need protections in place for Bristol Bay jobs, fish and people as soon as possible.
Also, consider a donation so we can continue this important fight forward.
It’s because of your ceaseless commitment to win this fight – spreading the word, contacting your elected officials, making financial contributions – that we are making major strides to protect this world-class resource. Thank you. We have come a long way in the past seven years. We are closer than ever to our goal of protecting Bristol Bay but we aren’t there yet; we will be calling on you again in the months ahead. That said, someone once told me you need celebrate every victory and this comment drive and Anglo American’s acknowledgement that Pebble is risky is a huge win.
Thanks again for your support.
P.S. Join the Save Bristol Bay community on Facebook and Twitter and stay up-to-date with regular updates, action items and weekly salmon recipes. And for a complete listing of this week’s media coverage visit SaveBristolBay.org.