Gov. Dunleavy’s Grave Error: Polling Shows Dunleavy is Out of Line with Alaskans on Undermining Bristol Bay Protections


From Bristol Bay Defense Fund:

Alaskans Are Concerned With Protecting All of Bristol Bay from Large Scale Mining and Want Legislation to Protect It, Forever

Today, the Bristol Bay Defense Fund, a coalition of business, tribal, nonprofit, and community organizations dedicated to protecting Bristol Bay from the Pebble Mine, released a poll that shows strong concern among Alaska voters for protecting all of Bristol Bay from large-scale mining and strong support for legislation to protect the watershed from large-scale mining forever.

This poll was released just after the State of Alaska filed a lawsuit before the U.S. Supreme Court challenging the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) final determination under the Clean Water Act that provides durable protections from mining around much of the Pebble deposit. In doing so, the State has ignored long established procedural rules regarding challenges of agency actions.

“There is resounding and enduring support across parties and the state for protecting Bristol Bay’s waters, thriving salmon fishery, and our people and Tribes that call this special place home. Governor Dunleavy’s lawsuit challenging the EPA’s Clean Water Act protections ignores what Alaskans want and is another example he is willing to waste state resources to try and save a failing foreign mining company,” said Alannah Hurley the Executive Director of the United Tribes of Bristol Bay. “Our people have stewarded Bristol Bay for countless generations and we will not rest until our watershed is permanently protected. We need our leaders to listen to the majority of Alaskans and take swift action to protect Bristol Bay forever. There’s no time to waste.”

The poll was conducted by the research firm Moore Information Group, findings are available in this memo and include:

  • A very large majority (74 percent) of Alaskans are concerned with protecting all of Bristol Bay from large-scale mining for the long term, including an intense 41 percent who are very concerned with protecting Bristol Bay from large-scale mining for the long term.
  • Nearly two-thirds (63 percent) of Alaskans are very or somewhat supportive of legislation that would protect Bristol Bay from large-scale mining forever.

“The bottom line is this, Alaskans are concerned about the long-term protection of Bristol Bay and when they have all the information available to them, support for protecting the entire Bristol Bay watershed through legislation is wide and deep,” said Hans Kaiser, partner with the Moore Information Group as part of a poll memo released today with these results.  “The State’s petition to SCOTUS to overturn the EPA’s Clean Water Act decision, and the threat it poses to Bristol Bay, is the opposite of what a large majority of Alaskans want.”

Earlier this year, EPA issued 404(c) Clean Water Act protections to end the threat of the Pebble Mine due to the adverse risks it poses to Bristol Bay’s waters and the surrounding ecosystem.

“Two decades of fighting Pebble Mine have illustrated that the majority of Alaskans want to see Bristol Bay protected from the threat of mining. Governor Dunleavy’s lawsuit to undo EPA’s Clean Water Act protections demonstrates just how out of touch he is with Alaska,” said Katherine Carscallen, Director of Commercial Fishermen for Bristol Bay. “It’s frustrating, but unfortunately not surprising – to see that after all this time, the Governor is still putting the interests of a foreign mining company with a track record of violations and lies ahead of Alaskans, our economy, the $2.2 billion dollar annual commercial fishery in Bristol Bay, and the tens of thousands of jobs it supports. Our state deserves better. It’s clear that the threat to Bristol Bay will remain until our leaders take legislative action to help us protect this irreplaceable watershed, forever.”

“This poll shows that a large majority of Alaskans want to protect all of Bristol Bay, which is home to an irreplaceable ecosystem that supports the largest wild salmon run in the world, from large-scale mining,” said Brian Kraft, owner of Alaska Sportsman’s Lodge and President of the Katmai Service Providers. So it begs this question of the Governor: ‘Why file a frivolous lawsuit, waste Alaskan taxpayer dollars, and put everything the Bristol Bay watershed supports in our state, including jobs, the economy, and businesses like mine at risk just to undermine the will of Alaskans?'”

The Bristol Bay Defense Fund is a broad coalition of local, state and national groups representing Bristol Bay Tribes, commercial fishermen, businesses, and conservation nonprofit organizations including the United Tribes of Bristol Bay, Commercial Fishermen for Bristol Bay, Businesses for Bristol Bay, SalmonState, Wild Salmon Center, Native American Rights Fund, and Natural Resources Defense Council. 


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