About 350 people packed a hearing held by the EPA in Seattle to gather public comments on its draft watershed assessment of Bristol Bay. The crowd started at about 250 with standing room only, until EPA opened another room to its auditorium.
Just over 80 folks shared their comments about the assessment. The vast majority staunchly opposed the Pebble Mine's potential impacts on the Bristol Bay watershed and fisheries. They were a diverse group of speakers representing all sorts of points of view - commercial fishermen, sportsmen, Alaska Natives, religious leaders, former engineers with the Army Corps, businesses with ties to Bristol Bay, representatives of the Bristol Bay Native Corporation and plenty of concerned citizens.
Speakers and supporters represented numerous businesses including Sage Manufacturing, Orvis fly shops, Patagonia, the American Fly Fishing Trade Association, and Yellow Dog Fly Fishing. Others present to show their support included Filson, Emerald Water Anglers and Deneki Outdoors.Some folks brought signs, including a No Pebble flag on a fishing pole, while others wore their No Pebble Mine stickers.
About a dozen folks spoke in favor of the Pebble prospect, including a spokesman for Pebble partner, Northern Dynasty, which has seen its share price plummet in the last year and a half, as well as a government relations spokesman from Anglo American.
We thank everyone who came out and showed their support -- your presence made a big difference. And, please remember, even if you didn't get your turn in front of the microphone, your thoughts count. Please send EPA a comment through this easy link. Simply fill out your information or write your own comment.
Now we're hoping to pack the house in Anchorage on Monday, June 4. Please join us at the Wendy Williamson auditorium on the University of Alaska campus. Folks, this room holds 1,000 people and we need to fill it and speak for Bristol Bay. These hearings are absolutely crucial and we need to tell the EPA why Pebble Mine is wrong for Bristol Bay. Please RSVP here for the Anchorage hearing.
Learn more about the hearings in Anchorage and the Bristol Bay region here.