Bristol Bay is a 40,000-square mile watershed with nine rivers and it is one of the last unspoiled areas on Earth.
The Pebble deposit is a massive storehouse of gold, copper and molybdemum, located in the headwaters of the Kvichak and Nushagak Rivers that feed Bristol Bay. If built, Pebble Mine would be one of the largest mines in the world. Because of its size, geochemistry and location, Pebble runs a high risk of polluting Bristol Bay, one of the world’s few and most productive wild salmon strongholds that supports a $500 million commercial and sport fishery. For this reason, Trout Unlimited is working with a diverse group of fishermen, guides, lodge owners, Alaska Natives, scientists, chef, restaurant owners, seafood lovers and many others to try to stop the Pebble development and to protect Bristol Bay.
The Pebble Mine complex would span 20 square miles of state land in the Bristol Bay watershed. It would require the world’s largest earthen dam to be built, some 700 feet high and several miles in length. The dam and 10-square-mile-wide containment pond are intended to hold between 2.5 billion and 10 billion tons of mine waste that Pebble would produce over its lifetime. That waste would require environmental treatment in perpetuity. Any release of mine waste into the surface or groundwater has the potential to harm Bristol Bay’s salmon runs, other fishes, habitat, and wildlife of the region.
The Environmental Protection Agency recently released an updated watershed assessment that confirms that Pebble Mine is too risky.
How to Take Action?
To protect Bristol Bay, please COMMENT on EPA's Watershed Assessment and tell your friends to do the same (there’s a chance to win a dream fishing trip by doing this).
The EPA Comment period is open until June 30th!
Please follow the link to Comment and feel free to customize the message (sample text below*), especially if you have fished in Alaska or dream of doing so someday.
* Thank you to the EPA for the diligent work, transparent process and extensive scientific review in evaluating the destructive impacts of large-scale mining in the Bristol Bay, Alaska region through its Bristol Bay Watershed Assessment.Your report makes clear that we cannot wait any longer to protect Bristol Bay's natural resources, native peoples, commercial fishing jobs and industry, and tremendous recreational opportunities from the unavoidable consequences of mega mining. Bristol Bay and its healthy sockeye fishery supports 14,000 jobs across multiple industries and generates more than $1 billion in revenue and value every year. It also supplies nearly half of the global supply of sockeye salmon. It is time for the Pebble Partnership to stop playing games and politics with what are clearly unacceptable impacts. The EPA's Assessment finds that even without a catastrophe or series of harmful spills, up to 87 miles of salmon streams and up to 4,300 acres of salmon habitat will be destroyed by mining the deposit. That alone should be enough to stop this project, but add in the unsupportable notion that up to 10 billion tons of toxic mine waste will be stored, treated and monitored "in perpetuity," and it becomes clear that action is required to protect Bristol Bay now. Please bear in mind that Pebble CEO John Shively told a crowd in March 2013: "At closure, we will have to have a system for closure and we will have to have a very substantial amount of money set aside so if we're not available to work on closure, the government or somebody else can do it." I'm certain no American taxpayers are interested in having the "government" handle closure and cleanup issues for the Pebble Mine. In addition, because employees in the State of Alaska's Department of Natural Resources have already said (in a nationally televised episode of "Frontline") that if the Pebble Partnership brings a mine application it would likely be approved, Bristol Bay is clearly a case in which the help of the federal government is required to protect a substantial regional economy with resources of a national and global scale. I ask that you immediately initiate use of the Clean Water Act to restrict inappropriate development activities such as the proposed Pebble Mine, while allowing reasonable development to proceed.