Media round-up: Bristol Bay remains a hot issue

By Shoren Brown

As the EPA nears a planned release date for its draft Watershed Assessment of Bristol Bay, the Anchorage Daily News says the assessment is needed. In an editorial, “Our View: EPA is doing its job,” the state’s largest newspaper says the agency is doing exactly what it should be doing, despite legal threats from state officials.

An excerpt of the newspaper’s opinion reads: “The EPA has been doing essential work – sooner (rather) than later. Despite the scale and the stakes, the Parnell administration certainly hasn’t taken the initiative, waiting passively for Pebble proposals and opposing any resistance to the project.”

In Wisconsin, a former official in Commercial Fisheries with the Alaska Department of Fish and Game writes a letter to the editor supporting EPA action under the Clean Water Act to protect Bristol Bay from mega mining. “Pollution from this mine would devastate the largest existing wild salmon fishery remaining in the world and some of the best trout fishing on the planet,” Jeff Skrade wrote.

Lone Star Outdoor News chronicles the “sinister threat to all sportsmen and conservationists” posed by Pebble. Dr. Richard Allen, retired leader of the Dallas Safari Club, writes: “This is an important issue in the Lone Star State as well, as thousands of Texans each year journey to this area of Alaska to enjoy the fabulous fishing, yours truly among them. Over the past seven years I have floated, fished, and camped on eight different rivers in the Bristol Bay watershed and have marveled each time at the phenomenal salmon migration.”

The Seward Phoenix Log notices an interesting connection between new Pebble TV ad spokespeople and the Make Alaska Competition Coalition, an oil and gas lobby group. And a new video with Alaska Natives in Nondalton – the closest settlement to the Pebble deposit – interviews villagers who reject the mine. One elder says, “It’s going to be too big an impact on the land, the water and the people.”

Shoren Brown is the Save Bristol Bay campaign director for Trout Unlimited.

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