A final environmental analysis for the proposed Pebble mine released today shows more than 191 miles of streams and 4,614 acres of wetlands would be impacted if phase one of the proposed Pebble mine advances, with 185 miles and 3,841 acres facing permanent impacts.
“Granting this permit would hand over the keys to America’s most valuable salmon fishery to a foreign-owned company with no history of successfully developing or operating a mine,” says Simon Perkins, president of The Orvis Company. “The proposed Pebble mine represents not only a direct threat to the fishery, but also a significant threat to the outdoor economy and commercial fishing industry, which so many businesses and communities in Bristol Bay and nationally rely on for financial security. If we care about American jobs, industry, environment, and culture, the only reasonable option at this point is to deny the permit.”
The Orvis Company, Trout Unlimited, Katmai Service Providers, and hundreds of other sporting businesses and organizations, along with tens of thousands of sportsmen and women, recently called on the President, and his administration, to deny the permit because of the massive impacts it would have to Bristol Bay’s fisheries and its $1.6 billion fishing industry. Additionally, the groups reiterate the scientific consensus that estimated impacts likely are vastly underestimated due to Pebble’s incomplete mine plan and the Corps’ inadequate subsequent review.
“This process has outlined significant destruction of critical fish habitat and it is acknowledged by the Army Corps that the likelihood of expansion is highly probable, thus making the current plan unrealistic. The document also assumes that Pebble will be able to cross private lands, which, as of now, it does not have the permission to do,” said Brian Kraft, president of Katmai Service Providers, which represents dozens of sportfishing and tourism businesses in Bristol Bay. “If this administration wants to uphold rural American jobs, then the only option is to deny this permit.”
Sen. Murkowski, Alaska Gov. Dunleavy and Pebble executives have stated that if the fish resources will be harmed, the proposed mine should not receive a permit. Federal and state agencies have raised significant concerns over the Corps’ analysis thus far, including as recently as few months ago during review of the preliminary final Environmental Impact Statement. Many of their concerns remain unanswered in the Final Environmental Impact Statement issued today.
“The Bristol Bay region is the crown jewel of America’s fishing. It’s an economic powerhouse,” said Chris Wood, CEO of Trout Unlimited. “All we need to do to keep it intact is to have the wisdom to leave it alone.”
Additionally, A 40-year study of the Bristol Bay region by the University of Washington credits the region’s healthy wild salmon fishery to “the portfolio effect,” in which the health of the entire system depends on the diversity and multitude of habitat in the region, and is threatened by developments like the proposed Pebble mine that chip away at intact habitat, according to the research.
The Army Corps of Engineers is expected to issue its decision on the permit within the next couple months after releasing its final Environmental Impact Statement.
For information on impacts see FEIS at 4.22-15, Table 4.22-1.
The Katmai Service Providers represents 64 Alaska fishing, hunting, bear viewing and tourism businesses that operate in the Bristol Bay region. Brian Kraft is the president of the KSP and the owner of two sportfishing lodges in southwest Alaska, one in Igiugig, Alaska and one near Dillingham, Alaska. www.Katmaipark.org
The Orvis Company: Founded in 1856, Orvis operates more than 80 retail stores in the U.S and the U.K., and maintains a network of over 400 dealers worldwide as a trusted source of fishing and hunting gear. They have millions of customers throughout the world. www.orvis.com
Trout Unlimited is the nation’s oldest and largest coldwater fisheries conservation organization dedicated to conserving, protecting and restoring North America’s trout and salmon and their watersheds. We have worked in the Bristol Bay region for almost two decades along with thousands of supporters including dozens of businesses that depend on the fishery of the region. For more information on the Save Bristol Bay campaign go to SaveBristolBay.org or tu.org.