Save Bristol BayNathaniel Treichler
Call for Action: A turning point in our relationship with the resources we depend on
By now, many of us – outdoorsmen or not – have heard of the situation in Bristol Bay, Alaska. While the issue of Pebble Limited Partnership’s proposed copper and gold mine has taken center stage in more recent months, this disastrous project is one that Alaskan natives, fishermen, environmentalists, and citizens alike have been fighting for years. And until just this year, this project was presumed dead. But let’s back up.
Before we talk about the imminent disaster stemming from this incredibly short-sighted project, before we talk about how we would be destroying the last true wild salmon fishery and before we discuss how this would total to the ruination of one of the last connecting threads to our relationship with the planet, let’s talk about what’s biologically and financially at stake here. If we truly understand what we as a species stand to lose, and what little so very few seek to gain from this project, then we can begin to comprehend the magnitude of such an action.
An Ecosystem Rich in Diversity – and an Attractor for Greed
While the abundance of Bristol Bay’s salmon populations serves as the main attractor for the outdoor community’s disbelief at the ignorance of this project proposal, Bristol Bay’s ecosystem possesses far more than just salmon. The Bristol Bay watershed harbors pristine rich habitat for countless animal species, including 29 fish species, more than 190 bird species, and more than 40 terrestrial mammal species. Specifically, Bristol Bay holds the largest sockeye salmon fishery on the planet and accounts for 46% of the average global abundance of wild sockeye.
So how do we as a species rely on Bristol Bay? Locally, the Bristol Bay salmon industry directly supports 12,000 seasonal jobs and has an output value of $390 million. Indirectly, this industry is responsible for over 7,000 jobs, and together, has a total output value of $1.5 billion. Those are staggering statistics. However, possibly even more staggering is the fact that we are at the brink of risking the entirety of this ecosystem at the hands of a few seeking personal profits.
In May of 2017, it was reported that newly appointed EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt met with Pebble Limited Partnership. Shortly after, the EPA and Pebble Limited reached a settlement, thus paving the way for the company to reapply for permits. And not long after the settlement was reached, the EPA also proposed to roll back the Clean Water Act restrictions put in place for Bristol Bay, opening up a 90-day public comment period.
With today being the final day for public comment, now more than ever, we are in need of citizens’ voices to be heard. Voice your opinion against this irresponsible and morally reprehensible project by following this link; if we are prepared to sacrifice the last intact wild salmon fishery left for corporate gain, then what does that say about the legacy of our species left on this planet?