United defenders of Bristol Bay, Alaska, this week applauded the Environmental Protection Agency’s latest “proposed determination” to protect Bristol Bay from large-scale mining interests using Section 404c of the Clean Water Act.
“The EPA previously identified the threats posed by massive mining proposals in the region and now has issued some advance guidance that will ensure any future development in Bristol Bay will not harm its vast natural resources,” said Scott Hed, director of the Sportsman’s Alliance for Alaska. “Sportsmen welcome this development and believe EPA is taking the right approach by using the Clean Water Act to provide Bristol Bay a future unclouded by the uncertainty it has faced for the last decade.”
The EPA announcement includes a new call-out for public comment regarding restricting the use of “certain waters in the Bristol Bay watershed for disposal of dredged or fill material associated with mining the Pebble deposit, a large ore body in southwest Alaska.”
EPA Region 10 said it’s taking this step forward because of the high ecological and economic value of the Bristol Bay watershed, as well as the assessed unacceptable environmental effects that would result from projects such as Pebble Mine.
Bristol Bay supports all five species of Pacific salmon. The commercial, sport, and subsistence fishery has been valued at more than $365 million per year. Nearly fifty percent of the world’s wild sockeye are produced in Bristol Bay, averaging some 25.7 million fish per year between 1990 and 2009.
Meanwhile, pro-mine politicians continue their efforts to drill holes in Clean Water Act usage with bills such as HR 4854 (the Regulatory Certainty Act) that would strip the EPA’s ability to protect these brilliant salmon runs. Stay tuned and Read More