When local TU members discovered the Chairman of the proposed Pebble Mine in Bristol Bay was speaking in Spokane—on the last day for public comment to EPA on the terrible project—they decided to let Mr. John Shively know that local salmon advocates opposing risking the greatest salmon fishery on Earth for gold.

Bristol Bay produces nearly 60 million sockeye annually, supports thousands of commercial and sport fishing jobs and sustains native communities. When mining companies proposed the largest gold mine in North America in the headwaters of the greatest salmon fishery in the world, fishermen, sport anglers and tribes came together to stop the proposal. Alaska elected leaders joined residents in saying “Not This Mine. Not This Place.” Tiffany’s and other jewelers pledged not to use any metals produced from Pebble.

National public opposition to Pebble Mine prompted the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) under the Obama Administration to adopt clean water protection in Bristol Bay preventing Pebble Mine. Citizens rejoiced.

Then President Trump’s newly appointed EPA Director Scott Pruitt met with Pebble Mine executives. EPA proposed roll back of the protections to make way for the mine. More than 400,000 comments opposed to the mine were submitted before the close of the comment period October 17, the day Pebble Mine Chairman John Shively came to town to speak to the local Mining Engineers Society.

SFTU, Wild Steelhead Coalition and Save Our Wild Salmon Coalition held a respectful rally outside on a windy evening, joined by Senator Maria Cantwell’s eastern Washington Director Bryan Raines, who read a statement from the Senator saying “Administrator Pruitt is ignoring science and putting a foreign mine above American fishing jobs. He must be stopped.”

Fishermen, outfitters, tribes and conservationists are coming together again to stop this mine. Stay informed on what you can do to help at TU’s website savebristolbay.org

-Sam Mace

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