Yesterday, U.S. House Science, Space and Technology Committee chairman Lamar Smith of Texas sent a letter to new Environmental Protection Agency administrator, Scott Pruitt, asking for popular protections proposed by the Agency for Bristol Bay, Alaska to be rescinded. Hunters, anglers and business owners from Alaska to Texas are frustrated with the move.
Brian Kraft of Alaska Sportsman’s Lodges replied with the following statement:
“It needs to be recognized that rescinding any action to protect Bristol Bay harms American businesses like mine. The EPA was asked to protect the waters of Bristol Bay by Alaskan residents. Their action was supported by an overwhelming majority of Alaskans and people from around the country. The EPA has NOT vetoed anything with regards to the Pebble. The EPA simply set standards by which Northern Dynasty must meet to obtain permits. Northern Dynasty itself has asked to be held to the highest standard possible. Nothing is, nor ever has, prevented Northern Dynasty from applying and receiving permits to mine. They simply have to adhere to standards that will ensure that their operations do not destroy the existing intact functioning ecosystem that supports the largest salmon run in the world, which culture and many American businesses depend upon. What is wrong with setting high standards to protect the largest wild fishery left on the planet?”
Nelli Williams of Trout Unlimited in Anchorage replied with the following statement:
“Alaskans learned long ago that Pebble cannot be trusted. Decision makers should be cautious before casting aside the world’s most valuable wild salmon fishery and American jobs in favor of a foreign-owned mine against the wishes of local residents, a majority of Alaskans and sportsmen the world over. Alaskans have said loud and clear that Pebble is not welcome here.”
Over 1.5 million Americans supported protections for Bristol Bay proposed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency during the four-year scientific assessment and review process due to threats posed by Pebble Mine to the wild sockeye salmon fishery. Over 90% of comments received by the Agency were supportive of upfront standards that would protect salmon from mining within the region based on section 404(c) of the Clean Water Act. Bristol Bay is a source of sustainable American jobs, a commercial fishing industry valued at $1.5 billion per year and a dream vacation destination for hunters and anglers around the world.