Alaska sportsmen and business applaud efforts to protect Bristol Bay from flawed mine review process
June 19, 2019 (WASHINGTON D.C.) — The House of Representatives took dramatic and much needed action today by passing amendment #90 to the Energy and Water Appropriations Act (H.R. 2740) bill. If passed by both chambers of Congress and signed by the President, the amendment would prohibit the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers from using funds to issue a permit for the proposed Pebble Mine.
On Monday, nearly 50 Alaska-based sportfishing, hunting and tourism businesses and organizations submitted a letter urging members of Congress to pass the amendment due to the Corps’ repeated failure to undertake a robust review of the permit application.
“The Corps’ process for the proposed Pebble mine is fundamentally flawed,” said Brian Kraft, president of the Katmai Service Providers and owner of two Bristol Bay fishing lodges. “The Pebble Partnership has manipulated what should have been a robust examination of real potential adverse effects of a mine located in prime salmon habitat. Now their lawyers are going through a system rigged to favor them; this process is not a meaningful assessment of risk.”
The amendment, introduced by Congressman Huffman, was supported by 233 Representatives. 201 others voted against it, with Congressman Young opposing the amendment.
“I commend everyone who voted for this for seeing through the Pebble Partnership’s deceptive actions and standing up for Alaska’s jobs, salmon and our sustainable economy that depends upon healthy rivers and habitat,” Kraft continued. “Representative Don Young is out of touch with where Alaskans are on this, and it’s time for him to listen to Alaskans instead of a foreign mining company. I hope the Congressman reconsiders his position. It is a critical time for our Senators and Governor Dunleavy to speak up on behalf of Alaskans and demand a truly rigorous process that looks at the reality of what the Pebble mine would be in totality.”
If built, the proposed Pebble mine would be one of the largest open-pit mines in the world. At its initial scale, which would develop just 1/8th of the total known deposit, the mine would destroy more than 80 miles of stream and 3,500 acres of wetlands, threatening many thousands of fishing jobs, hundreds of Alaska fishing businesses, a world class sportfishing destination and a culture and way of life for Alaska Native tribes and communities.
“The current process run by the Corps can’t be trusted and I am grateful Representatives from around the country are calling its legitimacy into question,” said Nanci Morris Lyon, King Salmon, AK resident and owner of Bear Trail Lodge. “I’ve been to numerous community meetings and reviewed the Corps documents, and the Pebble Partnership is manipulating the system to their advantage and to the detriment of Alaskan communities and businesses like mine. I urge Alaska’s Senators and Governor Dunleavy to step up and make sure this process is fixed. The current situation is unacceptable.”
“Alaskans have raised dozens of flaws with the current review process over the past year. The project review process is far from robust and is being driven by special interests instead of science. The process should be stopped until these issues can be resolved,” said Nelli Williams, Alaska director for Trout Unlimited and Anchorage resident.
Katmai Service Providers is an organization based in Alaska that represents the interests of dozens of tourism businesses and commercial operators that work in southwest Alaska, including Katmai National Park and the larger Bristol Bay region.
Trout Unlimited is the nation’s oldest and largest coldwater fisheries conservation organization. In Alaska, we work with more than 100 angling businesses and thousands of individual sportsmen and women to ensure the state’s trout and salmon resources remain healthy through our local chapters and offices in Anchorage and Juneau. Follow TU on Facebook and Twitter, and visit us online at tu.org and savebristolbay.org