Alaska’s Bristol Bay region receives critical protections

EPA’s Final Determination preemptively revokes Pebble Mine’s permit under Section 404(c) of the Clean Water Act

WASHINGTON – A proposed massive industrial mine for the Bristol Bay fish and wildlife region of Alaska has been blocked by the Environmental Protection Agency, which announced today that it will proactively rescind an industry dredge and fill permit. under Section 404(c) of the Clean Water Act which will prevent development of the Pebble Mine.

The EPA determined that mine waste, including dredged or fill material, would have “unacceptable adverse effects” on the renowned Bristol Bay wild salmon fishery, the largest remaining in the world, including loss permanent 8.5 miles of streams. This determination would necessarily prevent the development of the Pebble Mine, thereby preventing more than 10.2 billion tons of waste from being disposed of in the Bristol Bay watershed in Alaska.

For over a decade, Backcountry Hunters & Anglers has been fighting to conserve Bristol Bay, joining a diverse consortium of hunters, fishermen, commercial fishermen, tribal members, business owners and others in defense of the region. Bristol Bay supports robust commercial, subsistence and recreational salmon fisheries, as well as undisturbed habitat for a wide range of wildlife.

“Today is a momentous occasion for the millions of hunters and anglers who have raised our voices across Bristol Bay,” said John Gale, BHA vice president of policy and government relations. “The region’s wild rivers support the world’s largest wild salmon fishery, 35 species of fish and nearly half of all wild sockeye salmon populations. It also provides a tranquil habitat for moose, caribou, grizzly bears, black bears, and large populations of migratory waterfowl. Some places are too important to develop. Bristol Bay is one of them.”

The Biden administration’s work to conserve Bristol Bay follows actions taken by the Trump administration, which helped delay development of the Pebble Mine by requiring the Pebble Partnership to develop strategies to mitigate the project’s adverse impacts on fish habitat and wild life. Today’s EPA announcement marks a critical next step, as the Pebble Partnership is appealing the Trump administration’s decision.

“For Alaskans and visitors alike, the Bristol Bay region is considered one of the world’s top hunting and fishing destinations. Additionally, for thousands of years, the annual income from salmon has been the foundation of Alaska Native culture and lifestyle in the region,” said Kevin Fraley, Alaska BHA board member and fisheries biologist. “Bristol Bay salmon provide a deluge of nutrients to rivers, lakes and forests, and feed giant coastal brown bears, hulking rainbow trout, bald eagles, Dolly Varden and arctic grayling. We are delighted that an additional layer of protection is provided to the region’s ecosystems thanks to this decision.”

BHA will continue to work with indigenous communities, business leaders and our conservation partners to advocate for safeguards that add durability to the EPA decision and ensure greater certainty for the future of Bristol Bay and its tremendous resources of fish and life. that drive our outdoor traditions and fuel sustainability. of critical economies.

Backcountry Hunters & Anglers is the voice
for our wild public lands, waters and wildlife.

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katie mckalip