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Act Now to Save Bristol Bay

Pebble Mine
Pebble Mine Footprint

Now is the time to contact your elected representatives as well as the head of the Environmental Protection Agency if you are concerned about the proposed Pebble Mine in Alaska’s Bristol Bay watershed. Orvis has set up a Bristol Bay action page to send letters to your senators, representatives and Lisa Jackson, head of the EPA, asking them to investigate the impact of this mine.

In case you are not aware, the proposed Pebble Mine would be sited at the headwaters of two of the main rivers that feed Bristol Bay. This watershed supports the largest sockeye salmon run in the world (by far) and is one of the largest salmon fisheries in the world. Pebble Mine is fraught with huge risks. It would require the world’s’ largest earthen dam to contain the 2 billion to 10 billion tons of toxic mine waste produced, in a very seismically active area.

This mine is one of those ideas that just does not make sense in light of its risks. Contact your elected officials now to register your concerns. Here is a copy of the letter I wrote. I edited the text provided on the Orvis site:

Protect Bristol Bay – Concerns About Pebble Mine

I am writing today to encourage you to use your authority under the Clean Water Act to take a hard look at how the proposed Pebble Mine in Alaska’s Bristol Bay watershed will impact our nation’s biggest wild salmon fishery, the commercial fishermen and Alaska Natives who depend on it and the local businesses who make their living off of this wild landscape in Southwestern Alaska.

If built, Pebble Mine will produce between 2 and 10 billion tons of toxic waste that will have to be treated for hundreds of years. Located in a seismically active region, the mine would require the world’s largest earthen dam to be built, around 700 feet high and several miles in length. Independent scientists have questioned whether the dam could withstand the force of a massive earthquake, such as the 9.2 quake that devastated Anchorage in 1964. Because of its size, geochemistry and location, Pebble runs a high risk of polluting Bristol Bay, one of the world’s last remaining strongholds of healthy salmon populations, including the largest sockeye salmon runs in the world. The region provides pristine spawning grounds for trophy rainbow trout and all five species of Pacific salmon and a variety of wildlife that depends on the nutrients from salmon, clean water, and undisturbed habitat.

I urge you to initiate a Clean Water Act 404(c) process in Bristol Bay immediately. Alaska Natives, sportsmen, commercial fishermen and conservation organizations deserve a public and science-based process to determine if the Pebble Partnership’s plans to build the biggest open pit mine in North America will harm one of our nation’s greatest fisheries.

Thank you for considering my views.