U.S. Bureau of Land Management,
We, the undersigned citizens, are deeply concerned with proposals to transform vast tracts of land in Southwest Alaska's Bristol Bay watershed into a massive mining district. Bristol Bay is a national and international treasure; its salmon, trout and wilderness character are worth far more than the gold that may lie below the land's surface.
We respectfully request that the U.S. Bureau of Land Management maintain the current prohibition on hard rock mine prospecting and development on the publicly-owned land it manages in the Bristol Bay area. We further request the State of Alaska reject water withdrawal, dam construction, and other permit applications recently submitted by mining companies. If these permits were granted, mining companies could possibly dewater critical salmon rivers and trophy trout streams and destroy valuable habitat.
The Bristol Bay salmon fishery generates an estimated $320 million per year, with sport fishing contributing over $60 million to that total. Proposals to turn the region into a huge mining district, complete with tailings-filled lakes and access roads across the wilderness, are short-sighted and expose the region's incredible trout and salmon resources to what we feel is an unacceptable level of risk.
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