by Shoren Brown
Bristol Bay continues to make headlines across the country and in communities concerned for their livelihoods. In The Seattle Times, two entrepreneurs describe how salmon are an important part of Northwest culture and say EPA should use its legal authority to stop the threat of Pebble to commercial fishermen. Mark Liffman and Michael Brian Orr write, “Unless the Environmental Protection Agency takes action to protect Alaska’s Bristol Bay from a mega-mine proposed by foreign mining interests, our salmon jobs and businesses in Seattle could be lost.”
Nationally, three Alaska Native business leaders voiced strong opposition to Pebble in an op-ed in The Hill. Jason Metrokin, Ralph Andersen and Kimberly Williams conclude: “The majority of those in the Bristol Bay region understand that the same land that contains gold and copper also holds another economic, traditional and cultural treasure of priceless value: the world’s largest and potentially last thriving wild salmon fishery. It is this majority who invited EPA into the region and asked it to protect the salmon and other game resources of Bristol Bay.”
Elsewhere, Andrew Leonard argues that Grover Norquist is “losing it” in a Salon piece, referring to a recent Politico op-ed by Norquist. In it, Norquist circuitously argues that if the Obama Administration restricts the proposed Pebble Mine it must be an opponent of wind power because turbines are made from copper. Leonard calls the weak argument evidence of Norquist’s “fading fortunes,” and says Pebble “poses serious threats to the sustainability of the salmon fishery.” This is even more bizarre when you consider that Norquist has opposed the wind industry's top priority, a wind energy Production Tax Credit.
Finally, hunters from New Mexico highlight other dangers of Pebble, namely loss of hunting grounds. In the New Mexico Wildlife Federation’s Outdoor Reporter, Joel Gay reports on hunters’ concerns and quotes Jonathan Hart, an avid Alaska hunter: “If my kids and your kids can’t hunt and fish there when they’re older, we’ve screwed up big time.”
Shoren Brown is the Save Bristol Bay campaign director for Trout Unlimited.