I walked along a remote mountain creek earlier this week, a fortunate observer of something miraculous - thousands of land-locked salmon making their way over formidable obstacles to complete an eons-old cycle of life. Although these weren't sea-run salmon and the magnitude of the migration was much smaller, I couldn't help but think of Bristol Bay and the proposed Pebble Mine project.
PBS recently ran a documentary on the battle over the proposed mega mine. As usual, they focused on the facts and did an excellent job of objectively covering the perspectives of the stakeholders. I feel much better informed on the issues.
Here's what I took away from it:
- The potential for severe degradation of an area that supports 30-40 million salmon annually is substantial.
- The consequences of said degradation would be horrific to the fishery and the locals' way of life.
- The proposed mine operator, Pebble Limited Partnership (PLP), will say whatever it needs to say to get a permit. PLP's focus is public relations, not ecology.
- The mining pit will require ongoing "perpetual remediation" to ensure toxic waste is not leaked into the groundwater. Similar processes at other mines have not had a great track record. What happens 25 years from now if PLP is bankrupt or dissolved? Who will pay to remediate waste from one of the world's largest open pit mines for the rest of eternity?
- The short-term economic gain from this project is insubstantial compared to the financial benefit of a sustained fishery. Most of PLP's monetary gain will be transferred out of Alaska.
- It seems inevitable the state of Alaska will issue permits. If the Environmental Protection Agency doesn't stop this project, it is most likely going to happen.
Let's make sure our children (and their children) have the opportunity to experience an unspoiled Bristol Bay.
Click on the photo above to check out Trout Unlimited's "Save Bristol Bay" initiative.
Join the Sportsmen's Conservation Fund Challenge and help raise money to stop the Pebble mine and protect Bristol Bay's fishing and hunting. All Challenge donations made through the end of 2012 will be doubled.
All donations will go directly to Trout Unlimited’s work to protect Bristol Bay’s fish, wildlife and renewable resources from the risks posed by Pebble.
Here is that link again.
And here is a flyer you can distribute to friends and co-workers.