April 26, 2013

CONTACT: Tim Bristol, Trout Unlimited, 907-321-3291; tbristol@tu.org

Pebble Mine Map Credit: aktrekking.org

Pebble Mine Map
Credit: aktrekking.org

 ANCHORAGE – Sportsmen, Alaska Natives and commercial fishermen are  heartened the EPA has released its updated Bristol       Bay Watershed Assessment and initiated a public   comment period, representing one of the last steps to protect Bristol       Bay, Alaska, its world-class sockeye salmon fishery and 14,000 American   jobs. The Assessment evaluates large-scale hard rock mining such as the       Pebble Mine, which is proposed by two foreign mining conglomerates. If  built, the Pebble Mine willgenerate up to 10 billion tons of toxic waste  at the headwaters of one of America’s most productive fisheries.

“The science is clear: developing Pebble Mine will harm salmon and   destroy streams even if nothing ever goes wrong at the mine,” said Tim  Bristol, director of Trout Unlimited’s Alaska Program. “Pebble is far  bigger and more threatening to renewable resource jobs than any other       mine proposal in Alaska and it’s planned for the worst location possible:       the headwaters of Bristol Bay. Clearly, the time for action to protect  Bristol Bay under the Clean Water Act is now.”

EPA’s extensive scientific assessment – based on  Pebble’s own documents and peer reviewed twice by a panel of   independent scientists – found that even without a major disaster, the  proposed Pebble Mine would destroy up to 90 miles of salmon streams and       up to 4,800 acres of wetland salmon habitat. The agency’s due diligence also includes an earlier public comment period and eight hearings in two   states. Already, the threat of the toxic mine has led to widespread  economic uncertainty and suppressed job-creating investments in the  commercial fishing industry.

“Bristol Bay’s 14,000 jobs and all the people who depend on its clean waters can’t wait any longer,” said Chris Wood, President and CEO of Trout  Unlimited. “The Obama Administration has the responsibility under the  Clean Water Act to protect the people, jobs and renewable resources of   Bristol Bay now.”  #

  Anglo American, a foreign mining company of luxury metals with a record  as one of the world’s biggest polluters, forms half of the Pebble Limited  Partnership, which has said it plans to file a permit application for the  mine this year. Its partner, Northern Dynasty, filed detailed plans with the SEC to build North America’s largest open-pit mine and the world’s largest earthen dam in Bristol Bay, Alaska, home to America’s most  productive salmon streams.

 Several representatives from the Save Bristol Bay Coalition were in Washington this week to urge the EPA to quickly release  its updated draft Bristol Bay Watershed Assessment. They are part of an  unprecedented, bipartisan coalition of lawmakers, more than 900 hunting  and fishing groups and businesses, 26,000 retail food stores, 225 chefs  and restaurant owners, and 22 jewelers like Tiffany and Co. that believe  Bristol Bay should be protected. Nearly 60% of Alaskans and 80% of  Bristol Bay residents oppose the construction of Pebble Mine,  particularly Alaska Natives who fear the destruction of their 8,000 year-old culture.

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