Save Bristol Bay Campaign Update March 27, 2012

by Shoren Brown
Sportsmen across the country care deeply about protecting
Bristol Bay and they’re showing it in blogs and publications from coast to
coast.

A sportsman in Colorado pens a letter to the editor and mentions the 37 sportsmen’s organizations in the state that support protecting Bristol Bay.  “This Pebble mine, as it's called, is a truly bad idea. We can't afford to risk 40 percent of the world's sockeye salmon for a mine that will generate 10 billion tons of waste, stored behind earthen dams in an earthquake-prone area,” wrote outdoorsman Wayne Turner in the Summit Daily.

The Bristol Bay Native Corporation expressed steadfast opposition to Pebble Mine at a meeting in Juneau that was well attended by legislators. Jason Metrokin, CEO of the BBNC, said the corporation’s shareholders as well as voters across Alaska support responsible development, including mineral extraction, but oppose the Pebble Mine. He said, "We can support renewable and non-renewable development, but there's one particular project that we don't support because of the risks it represents to the region.”

And, members of the Commercial Fishermen's Entry Commission corrected a false assertion at the meeting by a Pebble backer that just 15% of Bristol Bay fishing permits are owned by local residents. In a letter to the Juneau Empire, they said that more than 25% of Bristol Bay commercial fishing permits are held by locals, while nearly 54% are owned by Alaskans.

A letter writer in the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner welcomes EPA involvement with Bristol Bay because: “The majority of our state government will not lift a finger because it wants the mine to be developed with little regard for commercial/subsistence people who rely on it for sustenance or for sport fishermen/tourist entertainment.” He urges protection of a fish resource that can last for thousands of years more. 

Lastly, the Hatch, a popular online fly fishing magazine, lays out the broad opposition to Pebble and asks folks to take action and write the President and their representatives.

Shoren Brown is the Save Bristol Bay campaign director for Trout Unlimited.