Act Now to Preserve Bristol Bay, Alaska Salmon Fishery
Oct. 13, 2017
Take two minutes to send a comment to the EPA about Bristol Bay.
Southwest Alaska’s Bristol Bay watershedis a pristine ecosystem that is home to the world's largest remaining wild salmon run. It provides habitat for 29 fish species, including all five species of Pacific salmon—sockeye, Chinook, coho, chum, and pink. In fact, the Bristol Bay watershed supports the largest sockeye salmon run in the world, producing approximately 46% of the world's wild sockeye harvest. That’s the good news!
As you may know, climate change has directly impacted our oceans and watersheds, threatening fish species and fish habitat. Threats to Bristol Bay from mining include toxic waste production and acid mine drainage, which could lead to surface and groundwater contamination. As the largest sockeye salmon fishery in the world, with approximately 46% of the average global stock of wild sockeye salmon, it is crucial to preserve this dynamic ecosystem for the preservation of salmon, as well as for environmental protection.
Here’s the bad news: the Bristol Bay watershed is also home to the Pebble deposit, a large underground body of mineral ore. And, the Pebble Limited Partnership, a project of Northern Dynasty Minerals Ltd, hopes to mine for copper and gold there, in the heart of the Bristol Bay watershed.
According to the Pebble Partnership, mining the Pebble deposit could involve excavation of the largest open pit mine in North America, covering up to 6.9 square miles and reaching a depth of as much as 0.77 mile, nearly as deep as the Grand Canyon. Additionally, the EPA found that “mine components (mine pit, tailings impoundments (dams of mining debris), and waste rock piles) would cover an area larger than Manhattan…” and “require the construction of support facilities…and infrastructure…greatly expand(ing) the “footprint” of the mine and affect(ing) additional aquatic resources…losses would be irreversible.”
In its 2014 404(c) Proposed Determination for Bristol Bay, the EPA wisely denied the Pebble Partnership permission to proceed pursuant to Section 404(c) of the Clean Water Act.
Turning its back on its own extensively researched, peer-reviewed, science-based Determination for Bristol Bay, in a startling reversal, the EPA now wouldallow the Pebble Partnership to proceed.
You can help preserve this unique, culturally and economically important fishery. Tell the EPA to save Bristol Bay!
Customize, cut, paste, and send the message below to the EPA on this page before October 17. 2017.
It’s easy and important, and only takes two minutes.
Honorable Scott Pruitt, Administrator
US Environmental Protection Agency
Honorable Michelle L. Pirzadeh, Acting Administrator, Region 10
US Environmental Protection Agency
RE: Bristol Bay, Alaska/Pebble Mine - Docket: EPA-R10-OW-2017-0369
Dear Administrator Pruitt and Acting Region 10 Administrator Pirzadeh:
I am a supporter of Slow Food USA, the national, not-for-profit organization dedicated to a food chain that is good, clean, and fair for all. I write to urge the US Environmental Protection Agency to protect Bristol Bay, Alaska, from the Pebble Mine that would threaten the region's irreplaceable fish and wildlife resources and the 14,000 jobs that depend on Bristol Bay's clean, healthy waters and fishery. EPA must keep in place the 2014 Bristol Bay 404(c) Proposed Determination.
According to EPA study, the Bristol Bay watershed provides vital habitat for 29 fish species, more than 190 bird species, and more than 40 terrestrial animals. All five species of Pacific salmon—sockeye, Chinook, coho, chum, and pink—spawn and rear in the pristine Bristol Bay watershed. The Bristol Bay watershed supports the largest sockeye salmon run in the world, producing approximately 46% of the world's wild sockeye harvest, creating $1.5 billion in economic output and nearly 20,000 jobs throughout the United States annually.
EPA's scientific study contains highly concerning facts about the proposed Pebble Mine: even without a mine disaster, exploitation of the Pebble deposit will destroy 94 miles of salmon streams and 5,350 acres of wetlands, lakes, and ponds. Overall, EPA concluded that mining the headwaters of the Bristol Bay river systems could cause irreparable harm to the valuable Bristol Bay fishery, wildlife, and communities.
I stand with more than 65 percent of Alaskans, 80 percent of Bristol Bay residents and Native communities, and 85 percent of commercial fishermen who oppose the Pebble Mine. Because of its great, ecological, economic, and cultural value, I implore the EPA to stand with us by keeping in place the 404(c) Proposed Determination for Bristol Bay, Southwest Alaska.
Thank you for your attention.