Still Saving Bristol Bay

Still Saving Bristol Bay - Judith O'Keefe

Words by Judith O’Keefe.

Last May, I wrote about a trip I took to our nation’s capitol as part of a contingency of sportsmen and women gathered together by Trout Unlimited/Save Bristol Bay.  We descended on Washington D.C. to ask our elected officials to support the Environmental Protection Agency in it’s effort to utilize the Clean Water Act to save the Bristol Bay watershed in Alaska from a proposed massive open-pit mine.

Trout Unlimited has just issued a statement expressing its disappointment in learning that, as of Feb. 5, the EPA has decided to conduct a second, potentially lengthy, review of its Bristol Bay Watershed Assessment.

Tim Bristol, Alaska Program Director for Trout Unlimited, responds, “While we appreciate this Administration’s efforts to survey the risks and impacts of large-scale mining on the world-class natural resources and fisheries of Bristol Bay with sound science, the EPA has already gone above and beyond the letter of the law in drafting its Assessment and conducting an independent and transparent review of it.  This added delay is unacceptable to Bristol Bay’s communities and stakeholders, and leaves a dark cloud of uncertainty hanging over Bristol Bay’s 14,000 jobs and its commercial and sport fishing industries.”

As one fellow supporter of Save Bristol Bay put it, “It is the classic example of the relentless pressure that extractive resource corporate lobbyists can put on the government, even when the consequences are going to be disastrous.”

It now seems the need for EPA action is even more apparent as a result of recent attempts in Alaska to ease mining regulations and make it easier for the proposed Pebble Mine to move forward. EPA action is the only way to ensure that reasonable restrictions are in place to ensure the health of Bristol Bay’s watershed, jobs, sustainable industries and unparalleled recreation.

Please join me and other sportsmen and women as we continue to make our voices heard on this issue of unparalleled importance.  To find out how you can help, visit Trout Unlimited’s website here.

Make sure to share this article with your networks, friends, and families.  This is an extremely important conservation topic right now, and we need your support.  Agree or disagree?  Leave your comments below!