Most of you know that Fly Talk has been following the proposed Pebble Mine in Alaska for several years now. In a nutshell, Pebble would be a massive open pit mine at the headwaters of the world’s most prolific wild salmon and trout fishery in Bristol Bay. It’s a dumb idea that would include a giant toxic lake behind an earthen dam in one of the most seismically-active regions in the world. It could kill a commercial and sport fishery that supports 14,000 jobs in the area. During a recent comment period on the EPA’s revised draft Bristol Bay Watershed Assessment (which basically says the project is a threat to the fishery), 84 percent of Alaskans said they opposed the project.
Just the other day, Anglo American, the mining company and major partner in the Pebble Project, decided to cut its (considerable) losses and pull out. That’s a major body blow that may have put the mine project on the canvas. But the fight isn’t over.
A real knockout blow will happen if the EPA enforces something called a Clean Water Act section 404c action, which basically would say that the mine is a threat to the resource and not in the public’s best interest, so the project would not be allowed to happen. Period. End of story. The EPA is able to do this, but local and national political leaders have to apply the pressure–and you anglers have to apply the pressure on them–to make it all happen.
It can happen. I now actually believe it will. The mine is opposed by people of all political persuasions. This is really a cultural issue, and if the Bristol Bay region is protected, it will be one of the most significant victories for hunters, anglers, and native Alaskans in our lifetimes.
Keep swinging. Go for the kill. Voice your opinions. Don’t quit now. For more information on how to act see www.savebristolbay.org/takeaction.