Target: Dianne Soderlund, Director of Alaska Operations Office
Goal: Demand that a proposal for a potentially toxic mineral mine be rejected
Salmon in Bristol Bay, Alaska are threatened by the construction of the Pebble Mine project, an invasive mine that could pollute the wild salmon’s ecosystem. As the project plods along in search of approval, we must pressure the EPA to not make concessions on the size or limits of its toxic footprint. We demand that the Pebble Mine project be dismissed entirely.
The proposed mine would be situated among the headwaters of the Kvichak and Nushagak Rivers; important salmon-spawning streams that drain into the Bristol Bay. Wild salmon fishing in Bristol Bay is a vital industry to the area and a means of subsistence for a lot of people. The area’s deposit contains massive amounts of gold, copper, and molybdenum. While it is true that the mine would create jobs and revenue, and provide the country with raw metal resources, which are necessary for electronics, the fact remains that it would inevitably spill into a delicate ecosystem. In fact, the EPA watershed assessment calculates that without a major accident, the mine would still block up to 87 miles of salmon streams and remove or bury up to 4200 acres of wetland.
On December 16th, 2014, President Obama banned oil and gas drilling in the Bristol Bay. This is a win for Bristol fisheries but does not affect the Pebble Mine project. It could be that this ban was to mollify opponents of the mine in anticipation of its approval. We must remain vigilant in the coming year if we want to see this project abandoned. We must demand that the EPA persist under the Clean Water Act to stop the Pebble Mine project in its entirety.
Dear Director Soderlund,
The Pebble Mine Partnership is unnerving to Alaskans and Americans alike. Despite the coordinated efforts of hundreds of thousands of citizens to stop the project all together, we fear that the EPA will eventually give in to the harsh economic arguments of industry professionals. Even though the EPA’s own watershed assessment confirmed that the project would displace wild salmon populations, we worry that the EPA will be encouraged to appease this profitable, but myopic operation.
I urge you to listen to the nine Bristol Bay tribes, the Bristol Bay Native Corporation, the Bristol Bay Native Association, the Alaska Independent Fishermen’s Marketing Association, the Bristol Bay Regional Seafood Development Association, the National Council of Churches, 355 fishing and hunting organizations, and over 200 chef and restaurant owners. I also hope understand the positions of the voiceless wildlife inhabitants of this vast ecosystem as they are the largest group of constituents under your administration’s purview.
I call on you to save the salmon of Bristol Bay and halt the Pebble Mine.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: Fæ via WikiMedia Commons