Federal environmental officials on Feb. 28 initiated action under the Clean Water Act to identify appropriate options to protect the Bristol Bay salmon fishery in Southwest Alaska, a move that could potentially halt the Pebble mine.
The announcement came from U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Gina McCarthy, who said that extensive scientific study "has given us ample reason to believe that the Pebble mine would likely have significant and irreversible negative impacts on the Bristol Bay watershed and its abundant salmon fisheries."
The Bristol Bay Regional Seafood Development Association (BBRSDA) applauds the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Friday decision to put the Clean Water Act into action to begin the process to protect Bristol Bay’s world class salmon fishery from the threat of a giant gold and copper mine in the fishery’s headwaters.
The Senate Resources Committee held a confirmation hearing on Friday for the man who represents the Bristol Bay region on the Alaska Board of Fisheries. KDLG’s Mike Mason listened in and filed this report.
The Bristol Bay Regional Development Assoc. said they (BBRSDA) applaud the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) decision on Friday to put the Clean Water Act into action to begin the process to protect Bristol Bay’s world class salmon fishery from the threat of a giant gold and copper mine in the fishery’s headwaters.
Here's my favorite thing about the Environmental Protection Agency enacting a rarely used section of the Clean Water Act to potentially shut down the behemoth Pebble Mine project proposed for the headwaters of Alaska's Bristol Bay: The agency is stepping up to call the bully's bluff.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is taking the first steps toward possibly restricting or even prohibiting development of a massive gold-and-copper prospect near the headwaters of a world-premier sockeye salmon fishery in southwest Alaska.
The decision follows release of an EPA report in January that found large-scale mining in the Bristol Bay watershed posed significant risk to salmon and could adversely affect Alaska Natives in the region, whose culture is built around salmon.
EPA has spent three years studying the potential impacts on salmon of a large, open pit mine in the Bristol Bay region, where half of the world's sockeye salmon are produced. Its final study came out in January after two drafts, 1.1 million public comments and two reviews by an independent panel of experts.
The chief financial officers for the city of New York and the state of California are continuing to call for major mining company Rio Tinto to divest itself from Northern Dynasty. Both New York City and California hold substantial amounts of Rio Tinto stock, and as shareholders they're trying to promote responsible investments, which they say the Pebble Mine is not.
A Coast Guard MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crew from Air Station Kodiak, forward deployed to Cold Bay, medevaced a 48-year-old man from the 272-foot fishing vessel American Dynasty approximately 95 miles northwest of Cold Bay, Monday.
The helicopter crew flew the man to the Cold Bay Clinic for subsequent transport to Anchorage by commercial medevac services.
Next week NRDC will join leaders from an unprecedented coalition of Alaska Natives, commercial fishermen, sportsmen, business owners, and faith leaders converging in D.C. and calling on EPA to use its authority under the Clean Water Act to protect Bristol Bay, Alaska from large-scale mining like the proposed Pebble Mine.
In a recent ill-informed letter to Pebble mine proponent Northern Dynasty Minerals, a handful of members of the Alaska State Legislature, led by Senate Resources Chair Cathy Giessel, seemed to be out to prove how loyal they are to foreign mining interests and how little they care about Alaskans fighting for their way of life.
3 Democrats in the Alaska Senate introduced legislation Wednesday that seeks to protect the rights of those who sue the state about issues in the public interest. As KDLG’s Mike Mason explains, the proposed Pebble Mine is at the heart of the proposed legislation.
Currently, 800 square miles of mining claims, including Pebble, Big Chunk, Groundhog, and others are under exploration in headwaters of the Kvichak and Nushagak rivers. These rivers drain about half of Bristol Bay and produce about half of Bristol Bay salmon. Nine federally-recognized tribes, the Alaska Native regional corporation for Bristol Bay, and commercial and sport fishing interests petitioned the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to use it's authority under the Clean Water Act to protect fisheries.
Most people don’t know that Alaska fishery managers operate 15 sonar sites on 13 rivers from Southeast to the Yukon – or that Alaska pioneered the use of sonars to track salmon. "We write these wonderful reports and we communicate with other scientists but if your user groups don’t know what you’re doing, really what good is it." Debby Burwen is a research biologist with Fish and Game’s sport fish division. For more than 40 years managers have used sonar as a tool to track salmon run strength in silty rivers where the salmon can’t be seen.
I, along with many others, have been working for years to protect Bristol Bay, Alaska, from large-scale mining. This spectacular, unspoiled landscape is home to the largest wild salmon fishery in the world. Every year tens of millions of salmon return to Bristol Bay to feed thriving commercial and sports fishing industries, as well as brown bears, whales, bald eagles and wolves. And they're the centerpiece of sustenance and culture for Alaska Natives who have lived there for thousands of years.
The numbers are in: last month was officially the warmest January on record in parts of western Alaska. Weather stations in Cold Bay and King Salmon logged their warmest January ever, based on average temperatures, and others nearby (Bethel - 3rd, Kodiak - 9th) indicate southwest was not alone.
The 62 degrees recorded in Port Alsworth on January 27 also tied the all-time warmest temperature recorded in January across the whole state.
Tiffany & Co. chairman and CEO Michael J. Kowalski is calling on fellow jewelers to take a stand against the proposed Pebble Partnership gold and copper mine in Alaska’s Bristol Bay.
“I think the jewelry industry needs to speak up,” he tells JCK. “It’s in the collective interest of our industry that this mine not be built.”
“We recognize that mining is essential to our business,” he continues. “Customers expect precious metals and gemstones to be mined responsibly. Jewelry customers want a clean transparent supply chain that they can feel good about.”
A series of short documentaries on Alaska's Bristol Bay were released Feb. 3 by the Bristol Bay Regional Seafood Development Association on its website, www.bbrsda.com and on http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RZaU04hzZfw
Filmmaker and life-long Bristol Bay fisherman Elijah Lawson teamed up with Randall Peck to create The Process, Community, and The Mershons, three portraits of Bristol Bay fishermen and their families.
A group of 360 scientists from the United States, Canada and Europe commended the US Environmental Protection Agency this week for its Bristol Bay watershed assessment and urged use of the Clean Water Act to protect the bay from mining.
“Based on the results of the assessment, we are very concerned about the prospect of large-scale mining in the unique and biologically rich watersheds of Southwest Alaska’s Bristol Bay,” the scientists said, in their letter to UPA Administrator Gina McCarthy, and EPA Regional 10 Administrator Dennis McLerran.