Preserve the Well-Being and Integrity of the Bristol Bay Watershed in Alaska

Rep. Bryce Edgmon Introduces Bill to Protect Wild Salmon in Bristol Bay; Senate majority leader Gary Stevens Introduces the Jay Hammond State Game Refuge Bill

Representative Bryce Edgmon (D-Dillingham) has introduced a bill that extends conservation and protection of wild salmon in the Bristol Bay drainage area.

"Passage of HB134 will help protect the watersheds of the five major river systems that flow into Bristol Bay, home of the world's largest red salmon run, " Edgmon said.

A 2006 ISER study on the economics of the Bristol Bay watershed estimated the net economic value of the area between $110.9 and $185.6 million per year. Those figures take into account the commercial salmon fishery, subsistence harvest, sport fisheries, sport hunting, wildlife viewing and tourism.

Edgmon's bill would, with common-sense exemptions, make it illegal to withdraw, obstruct, pump or pollute surface or subsurface water in any Bristol bay drainages that support salmon. It also lays out a schedule of fines for violating these protections.

"As a legislator, Jay Hammond saw fit to add protections to this valuable area in 1972 before allowing oil exploration,"Edgmon said. "This bill adds protections to the same area at a time when mining on a massive scale is being proposed. If mining is to eventually take place in our watershed, I want to make sure that our clear-running salmon streams and rivers are not put at risk".

At the same time, Senate majority leader, Gary Stevens (R-Kodiak) has introduced SB67, Jay Hammond State Game Refuge. All state-owned surface and subsurface land and water, and all land acquired in the future within the hydrographic boundaries of the Kvichak and Nushagak-Mulchatna River drainages, excluding Wood-Tikchik State Park, is designated as the Jay Hammond State Game Refuge and shall be managed as a state refuge for the protection of salmon, trout, caribou, brown bear, and other fish and wildlife species and for the use and enjoyment of the people of the state.

Both bills are needed!

I am writing to express my full support for Bryce Edgmon's HB 134 and Gary Stevens' SB67. It's a sad day in Alaska, when we have to go to such length's, to try and protect our natural renewable resources that are under increasing siege, of foreign mining companies who consistently pollute and destroy land and rivers with very little repercussions because of an inadequate and outdated 1872 mining law. On top of this, they are also protected in many ways with the North American Free Trade Act (which protects foreign companies when doing business in the United States). Northern Dynasty is planning on building the world's largest gold, copper and molybdenum mine, along with Rio Tinto, who is known world wide, as one of the worst when it comes to violations of the land and rivers of which they operate their mines.

Tell Alaska's State Representatives that we need to pass Edgmon's HB 134 to protect the Bristol Bay Watershed and Gary Stevens' SB67, The Jay Hammond State Game Refuge now!

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