Trout Unlimited is disappointed to learn that the Environmental Protection Agency will conduct a second, potentially lengthy review of its Bristol Bay Watershed Assessment, in an announcement made by Dennis McLerran, Region 10 Administrator for the EPA, in Anchorage on Feb. 5.
“While we appreciate this Administration’s efforts to survey the risks and impacts of large-scale mining on the world-class natural resources and fisheries of Bristol Bay with sound science, the EPA has already gone above and beyond the letter of the law in drafting its Assessment and conducting an independent and transparent review of it,” said Tim Bristol, Alaska Program Director for Trout Unlimited. “This added delay is unacceptable to Bristol Bay’s communities and stakeholders, and leaves a dark cloud of uncertainty hanging over Bristol Bay’s 14,000 jobs and its commercial and sport fishing industries.”
The Alaska Natives, commercial fisherman and sportsmen who petitioned EPA asked for action to protect Bristol Bay, not a multi-year study with multiple reviews. Unfortunately, the need for EPA action is even more apparent as a result of recent attempts in Alaska to ease mining regulations and make it easier for the proposed Pebble Mine to move forward. EPA action is the only way to ensure that reasonable restrictions are in place to ensure the health of Bristol Bay’s watershed, jobs, sustainable industries and unparalleled recreation.
EPA now says it will finalize the Assessment sometime later this year. You can read about their delayed timeline here.