Bristol Bay is one of the most productive marine ecosystems in the world and the source of the world's largest wild salmon fishery. It is also critically important for livelihoods, where fishing has been core to culture and identity for generations of Alaska Native people. The importance of salmon in this region is shown not just in local livelihoods, but in art, schools, music and dance.
Yet its future is in jeopardy. The proposed gold and copper mine, if built, would be located at the headwaters of the Bristol Bay watershed. Located in an active earthquake zone, the mine would be the largest open pit mine in North America, if not the world.
This must stop. The Environmental Protection Agency has the power under the Clean Water Act to help protect the future of Bristol Bay by stopping the Pebble Mine from being developed. Send a strong message that it’s time to take leadership and protect this treasure: sign the petition today.
Dear Administrator McCarthy,
I am writing today to encourage the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to protect Bristol Bay, Alaska, from the proposed Pebble Mine that would threaten the region's irreplaceable fish and wildlife resources and the 14,000 jobs that depend upon Bristol Bay's clean, healthy waters.
The findings of the recent EPA Bristol Bay Watershed Assessment are highly concerning: even without a disaster, construction of the Pebble deposit will destroy 24 90 miles of salmon streams and 1,2005,000 acres of wetlands, lakes and ponds.
These concerns were heightened when on August 4, 2014, a major breach occurred at the Mount Polley copper and gold mine in British Columbia. The earthen dam that had been built to contain millions of tons of mining waste failed, and an estimated 10 million cubic meters of waste water plus more than four million cubic meters of sediment spilled into the salmon stream and lake systems in the region.
It is important to keep the Mount Polley incident in mind as you consider Bristol Bay's future because the breached containment dam at Mount Polley employs the same containment dam technology that would be used at the Pebble Mine. This catastrophic failure clearly demonstrates just one of the inherent and persistent risks associated with this misguided project, which is located at the headwaters of Bristol Bay's most productive salmon rivers.
I therefore recommend the EPA finalize the Proposed Determination of the US Environmental Protection Agency Region 10 Pursuant to Section 404(c) of the Clean Water Act - Pebble Deposit Area, Southwest Alaska. The reasonable restrictions included in that proposal will prevent unsustainable development that would adversely impact the region's fishery, recreation and local culture.
Please move forward with finalizing 404(c) action as soon as possible to protect one of the nation's greatest sustainable resources--the Bristol Bay, Alaska, salmon fishery.