Kendall Bautista / KTUU
POSTED: 03:34 PM AKST Feb 25, 2016
ANCHORAGE -A coalition representing about six million sportsmen in more than 40 fishing and hunting groups and businesses released a letter Thursday urging presidential candidates to oppose the Pebble Mine project.
The letter underscores the stakes of the 2,500 local jobs and $160 million in local economic activity projected to be created by the mine. In the letter, the group argues the project would create only about 1,000 temporary mining jobs and could threaten the 14,000 commercial fishery jobs that make up a $1.5 billion annual salmon fishery.
Three leaders from the fishing and hunting community announced the letter at a press conference Thursday.
Ben Carter, Executive Director of the Dallas Safari Club, said the sporting community is unified in their opposition to the Pebble Mine.
"Bristol Bay is one of the last places on the face of the earth for the remote wilderness hunting we treasure, and allowing mining of this scale would end that experience forever," Carter said.
Ben Bulis, President of the American Fly Fishing Trade Association, added in the press conference, "There's no other place like Bristol Bay and our industry refuses to see this taken away by a foreign-owned mine scheme that the scientists and Alaskans themselves have already made clear should never be allowed to go forward.
Owner and CEO of Alaska Sportsman's Lodge, Brian Kraft, spoke about jobs and how sport-hunting, sport-fishing, and ecotourism would be endangered by the Pebble Mine.
"The 29,000 fishing trips alone each year and the wildlife that attract hunters from around the world, mean jobs in my lodges, jobs for Alaskans, jobs that are here year in and year out," Kraft said. "We want to know where the next President stands before he or she places the right hand on the Bible and takes the oath of office as our 45th President."
Copyright © 2016, KTUU-TV