What will it take to protect Bristol Bay forever?

The U.S. Army Corps denied a permit for the proposed Pebble mine in late November 2020, pointing to the failure of Pebble’s mitigation plan to address the severe degradation and destruction that would be caused by the project. No mitigation plan can mend what Pebble would destroy.

Alaskans, especially those in Bristol Bay, celebrated this great news. Many of us have fought to stop this mine from its catastrophic endgame for 15 years—Bristol Bay protectors most of all.

Now, Bristol Bay leaders have a plan for protecting the region forever.

The next big step for salmon and Bristol Bay communities

The Army Corps’ denial of a Clean Water Act permit gives Pebble plenty of ways to appeal, first through the agency process and later by taking the agency to court. There may be administrative actions that can undermine the permit denial as well. As the Pebble tapes and ongoing insider deals prove, corporate interests and influence too often have all the sway in these arenas.

Knowing this, Bristol Bay leaders released a regional vision for long-term protections. Their call to action includes demanding that the Environmental Protection Agency veto the proposed Pebble mine, and that Congress establish the Jay and Bella Hammond Bristol Bay National Fisheries Area to protect Bristol Bay waters in perpetuity.

Turning the region into a national fisheries area would recognize the world’s largest sockeye salmon run and provide lasting federal protection, including a ban on any toxic mine waste from the proposed Pebble mine or any other similar large-scale project that would harm the rivers, lakes and wetlands of Bristol Bay.

Bristol Bay needs forever protections

We honor the leadership of United Tribes of Bristol Bay, the Bristol Bay Association, and Bristol Bay Economic Development Corp. in sharing this vision, and we stand with them in calling on elected leaders to protect Bristol Bay forever.

The people of Bristol Bay have for too long lived with the Pebble behemoth hanging over their lives and futures. The people who fish for food, whose traditions center on salmon, who make a living on the water, who go to Bristol Bay to experience a remarkable place teeming with thriving salmon runs, wildlife, and a profound fishing tradition should not have to continue spending their money, their days, and their lives fighting a massive Outside corporation that has done nothing but lie, silence and divide local people, and gaslight the entire region while trying to frame itself as the victim.

Pebble’s parent company Northern Dynasty is not a victim of anything but its own greed and lies. It has perpetrated an ongoing assault on Bristol Bay that will not stop until we end it once and for all—and that means supporting Bristol Bay’s call for action.

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