ANCHORAGE, AK – By internal count, the Environmental Protection Agency received more than 750,000 comments supporting the federal agency’s proposed protections for Bristol Bay, Alaska from threats posed by the Pebble Mine.
ILIAMNA, AK -- Pebble Mine is still too risky for Bristol Bay.
This week Alaskans reiterated their opposition to the mine during the course of two hearings hosted by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in Dillingham and Iliamna. According to an initial count by Trout Unlimited and United Tribes of Bristol Bay, more than 280 Alaskans attended the hearings. About 120 people testified, 103 of whom spoke in opposition to the EPA’s plan to withdraw the 2014 proposed protections.
“I would have said yes to the mine project 20 years ago,” the retired politician said over the headset. “What I didn’t understand then was the size of this project, nor the connection of water to everything; the blood of this system is water, and it’ll bleed everywhere.”
When I travel outside of Alaska, friends are surprised when I ask a server if the salmon on the menu is wild or farmed, and whether it is from Alaska. For many non-Alaskans, salmon is salmon. They never stop to consider where it comes from or how it was raised.
By now, Alaskans have come to the unfortunate realization that the proposed Pebble Mine — a potentially massive gold and copper mine owned by a Vancouver company — is not dead. A new administration in Washington, D.C. that is taking a vastly different approach to resource management is giving fresh life to a proposal to build a mine in an ecologically sensitive and economically important area of the state.
Over a 40-year career commercial fishing in Alaska, I’ve experienced a few occasions in which I knew I was amid something very rare and very special. The Sockeye return to Bristol Bay this past summer created one of those exceptional moments in time.
Today, salmon lovers across the country can order sockeye salmon from Pride of Bristol Bay and have it delivered directly to homes and businesses across the country. A portion of proceeds from every order placed will go directly to efforts to protect Bristol Bay from the Pebble Mine proposal.
Thank you very much for inviting me to testify today. My name is Pete Andrew Jr. and I live in Dillingham, Alaska. I am on the Bristol Bay Native Corporation’s (BBNC) Board of Directors, a commercial fisherman, and a life-long subsistence user from Bristol Bay in southwest Alaska.
Alaskans opposed to the Pebble Mine project will support Bristol Bay residents who rely on healthy runs of wild salmon by rallying outside a Monday Pebble Partnership gathering in Anchorage. Pebble is convening the private meeting to discuss how to build a mine with their hand-picked advisory panel.