Protect Bristol Bay
As an avid sport fisherman who guided fishing clients in Bristol Bay, Alaska, for 15 years, I’m heartened that the Environmental Protection Agency has come out with a draft watershed assessment recognizing the unique natural resources and salmon habitat of the region.
It’s clear from EPA’s scientific review that an entire web of wildlife relies upon the 40 million salmon, along with a regional economy valued at more than $500 million annually and more than 12,000 jobs. In 2010, more than 11,000 Alaska fishing licenses were sold to Colorado anglers. As good as the fishing is here at home, Bristol Bay is a once-in-a-lifetime destination for Colorado sportsmen and women.
After the EPA finalizes this comprehensive assessment, it should take action under the Clean Water Act to protect the Bristol Bay region from irresponsible, massive development like Pebble Mine. It should start a 404 (c) process to withdraw Bristol Bay’s clean waters from receiving toxic dredge and fill material from the proposed mine.
The Pebble project is 20 times larger than all of the other mines in Alaska, and it will dig as much as 10 billion tons of toxic waste that must be treated and stored forever. It’s the wrong mine in the wrong place – a sensitive area where there is no margin for error.
Bristol Bay changed my life in the most positive way. I brought my wife to Bristol Bay, and to this day she says it was one of the most memorable trips she has ever taken. One day, my wife and I want to share this amazing place with our son. In the future if my son wants to work there in the fishing industry, I would support him in every way. It’s time to protect Bristol Bay and its unrivaled natural resources now and for future generations.
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No official vote has taken place, but the Dillon Town Council has decided to push forward with an ordinance at a future meeting despite a contentious debate that clearly divided council members on the issue.