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Entries in Pebble Mine (10)


EPA Stands By Decision To Protect Bristol Bay Salmon Fishery

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will stand by a decision that recommends limiting the amount of mine waste that can be disposed of in rivers and wetlands in Bristol Bay's salmon-producing rivers. Sportsmen and other activists have long opposed mining there and especially Pebble mine, because of potential to harm fish, drinking waters, and recreational opportunities.  

EPA earlier had said that it would withdraw the decision, labeled a Proposed Determination.

Brian Kraft, owner of Alaska Sportsman’s Lodge and president of Katmai Service Providers (Anchorage and Iguigig) said the following:

 “This is an encouraging step for many Alaskan businesses and families that depend on Bristol Bay salmon. The EPA made the right decision by listening to local people, dozens of Alaskan business owners, and sportsmen and women around the country.

"I am thankful the EPA has ensured that widely-supported restrictions on large-scale mining in Bristol Bay will remain an option to protect our fishery. Alaskans have known for years that the Pebble mine does not belong in Bristol Bay. It’s too big of a risk to our jobs, businesses, and a sport fishing paradise. It is reassuring to see the EPA acknowledge the uniqueness of this region, and the risks Pebble mine poses.”

Nanci Morris Lyon, owner of Bear Trail Lodge (King Salmon) added the following:

“Nearly 60 million salmon returned to the rivers of Bristol Bay last year, and fisheries experts are predicting another incredible run this year. It’s good business sense to safeguard this region, which is an irreplaceable Alaskan and American asset. Preserving the Proposed Determination ensures that an important option to safeguard Alaskan families and businesses remains in play.”
John Holman, owner of No-See-Um Lodge (Kvichak River and Wasilla) offered this:

“It’s reassuring to see the EPA Administrator acknowledge the uniqueness of this situation and the overwhelming and unprecedented number of comments supporting strong protections for the rivers of Bristol Bay. It demonstrates that the EPA recognizes the depth and breadth of Alaskan opposition to a mine that would put American jobs and businesses at grave risk.” 


The tens of millions of salmon that return to Bristol Bay each year fuel a $1.5 billion fishing economy, support 14,000 jobs, and dozens of businesses run by hard-working American families. Northern Dynasty Minerals, a Canadian mining company and principle backer of the Pebble Partnership, has proposed to build a massive open-pit mine that, if built, would be in the headwaters of rivers that supply nearly half of the world’s wild sockeye salmon, and in the heart of some of the world’s most sought-after destinations to fish and hunt.
Last July, following settlement of a lawsuit by the proponent of the mine, the EPA proposed to withdraw the 2014 Proposed Determination. During the subsequent public comment period and several hearings in Alaska, EPA received more than one million comments opposing the withdrawal. More than 26,000 Alaskan comments poured in, expressing support for protecting Bristol Bay’s salmon and jobs, including dozens of business owners whose livelihoods depend on wild salmon. 


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?