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Entries in Pebble Mine (9)


EPA Confirms Threat that Pebble Mine Poses to Alaska Salmon 

Those fighting to protect one of the world’s most valuable salmon fisheries are pleased with a recent assessment by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

Basically, the EPA found that, even without a major disaster, the proposed Pebble Mine would destroy up to 90 miles of salmon streams and up to 4,800 acres of wetland salmon habitat in Alaska’s Bristol Bay.

“The science is clear: developing Pebble Mine will harm salmon and destroy streams even if nothing ever goes wrong at the mine,” said Tim Bristol, director of Trout Unlimited’s Alaska Program.

“Pebble is far bigger and more threatening to renewable resource jobs than any other mine proposal in Alaska and it’s planned for the worst location possible: the headwaters of Bristol Bay.

"Clearly, the time for action to protect Bristol Bay under the Clean Water Act is now.”

Save Bristol Bay adds this:

Anglo American, a foreign mining company of luxury metals with a record as one of the world’s biggest polluters, forms half of the Pebble Limited Partnership, which has said it plans to file a permit application for the mine this year. Its partner, Northern Dynasty, filed detailed plans with the SEC to build North America’s largest open-pit mine and the world’s largest earthen dam in Bristol Bay, Alaska, home to America’s most productive salmon streams.

Several representatives from the Save Bristol Bay Coalition were in Washington this week to urge the EPA to quickly release its updated draft Bristol Bay Watershed Assessment. They are part of an unprecedented, bipartisan coalition of lawmakers, more than 900 hunting and fishing groups and businesses, 26,000 retail food stores, 225 chefs and restaurant owners, and 22 jewelers like Tiffany and Co. that believe Bristol Bay should be protected.

Nearly 60% of Alaskans and 80% of Bristol Bay residents oppose the construction of Pebble Mine, particularly Alaska Natives who fear the destruction of their 8,000 year-old culture.

Go here to learn more about the assessment and comment.


Angler Opposition Fierce to Alaska's Pebble Mine


This annual sockeye salmon run at the headwaters of Bristol Bay could be destroyed if Pebble Mine is allowed to proceed.

Anglers and others have spoken out overwhelmingly in opposition to the proposed Pebble Mine in Bristol Bay, Alaska, which would endanger one of the world’s most pristine and productive salmon fisheries.

The U.S. Environmental Protection (EPA) agency received about 185,000 comments about the mine, with 98 percent opposed. More than 180,000 of those comments called for EPA to stop development, utilizing protections provided by the federal Clean Water Act.

“Opponents of the mine consider the risk of environmental damage from the waste material (an estimated 10 billion tons) generated by the mining process too great,” says Angling Trade website.

“If allowed, the mine will be located at the headwaters of the Bristol Bay watershed, the spawning grounds for over 40 million fish annually.  Even without a major disaster, experts predict significant, environmental damage will occur if the mine is developed. 

“The EPA’s draft Bristol Bay Watershed Assessment finds that normal mining practices would destroy as much as 87 miles of rivers and streams and 4,200 acres of wetlands.  A major catastrophe, or reoccurring leaks or spills, could devastate the region.”

To learn more about this issue, check out Alaska Gold.

Buy Better Bass Fishing here.


Sportsmen Go to Washington to Defend Alaska's Bristol Bay

Sportsmen from across the country are going to Washington, D.C. next week, to argue in defense of Alaska's Bristol Bay, one of the world’s great salmon fisheries.

It is threatened by Pebble Mine, a proposed gold and coppering mining operation.

Scott Hed of the Sportsman’s Alliance for Alaska says this:

“This is not just Alaska’s issue.  It is not just a commercial fishing or sportfishing issue.  This is about America’s last great wild fishery.   

“If we falter here, we will have laid down our rods at the feet of a multi-national corporation.  We will have turned an industry with a long history of destroying fisheries loose in a place that provides 40 percent of the wild salmon the world eats. 

“As fishermen we will have abandoned one of the last places that is hatchery-free, with runs averaging 40 million salmon a year. 

“If you fish and have not heard of Pebble, you may have been under a rock.  It is a proposal for the largest hard rock gold and copper mine in North America, bringing with it all the pollution risk and water consumption that comes with mining at this scale.

“It would sit at the headwaters of the largest salmon fishery in the world, a place where you can catch five types of salmon, rainbows, Dollies, char, northern pike, lake trout and grayling.  Its sport fishing industry brings in $100 million a year; its commercial fisheries are worth $400 million each year. Together they provide jobs for more than 12,000 people.”

Go here to read Sportsmen fly to DC to tell President and Congress no to Pebble Mine.


Diseases Threaten Salmon Fisheries

Lots of concern about the salmon fisheries in Alaska these days, much of it focused on what the proposed --- and strongly opposed --- Pebble Mine could do. (Click on the Protect Bristol Bay button at left to learn more about the Pebble Mine threat.)

More recently, though, scientists in British Columbia reported finding two juvenile sockeye salmon with infectious salmon anemia (ISA).

The Bellingham Herald says:

“The virus, which doesn't affect humans, has caused losses at fish farms in Chile and other areas, and could have devastating impacts on wild salmon in the region and other species that depend on them, the researchers said.”

And an opinion piece in the Anchorage Press adds:

"As annoying as any kind of media saturation can be, the hubbub about the future of fish is earned. Because here's the thing: ISA turning up in West Coast waters is, potentially, a big deal. A really, really big deal.

"ISA is such a big deal that it kills 70 percent of the farmed fish it affects. And while the effects of ISA on wild salmon are still poorly understood-some research, according to the (New York) Times, has shown wild populations to be more resistant than farmed fish-it feels pretty logical to assume that if a virus can kill such a staggering percentage of fish in captivity, it can probably kill a healthy chunk of fish in the wild.

"Plus, ISA has a high potential to mutate, meaning that even if it isn't posing a serious threat to wild salmon today, it could, and in the not-so-far-off future."

If that isn’t enough, here’s an article entitled What the hell is turning pink salmon yellow in the Fraser River?


Advocates Go on the Road to Help Save Bristol Bay Fisheries

The mission to save Bristol Bay, Alaska, from a proposed gold and copper mine is going on the road, according to Trout Unlimited.

Here’s what TU says:

Alaska natives, commercial fishermen, sportsmen and seafood processors are heading south on the Save Bristol Bay Road Show to raise awareness and build support for protecting Bristol Bay Alaska, which is threatened by the proposed Pebble gold and copper mine.

The mine, potentially three times as large as the largest current mine in North America,  would threaten the headwaters of Bristol Bay, putting thousands of fishing  jobs at risk, along with a native way of life that has existed for centuries. The real gold in Bristol Bay is the world’s largest sockeye salmon fishery, a sustainable resource that returns year after year.

In six cities, commercial fishermen, Alaska natives, sportsmen, and seafood processors will highlight the economic risks posed by the mine. The Road Show also will feature a screening of the award-winning documentary, “Red Gold,” delicious Bristol Bay sockeye prepared by local chefs, and locally produced beers.

 Here are dates and locations for the Road Show:

Seattle: Monday, October 17, Leif Erikson Lodge, 7 p.m.               

Portland: Wednesday, October 19, Bagdad Theater, 7 p.m.

Corvallis: Friday, October 21, The Arts Center, 7 p.m.

San Francisco: Monday, October 24, Temple Nightclub, 7 p.m.

Santa Fe: Tuesday, October 25, Center For Contemporary Arts Cinematheque, 7 p.m.

Denver: Thursday, October 27, Oriental Theater, 7 p.m.

For information, please visit the Road Show website.

Learn more about the Pebble Mine threat by clicking on the Protect Bristol Bay button on left margin of this page.