Environment America, Environmental Action submit nearly 37,000 comments to protect Bristol Bay

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Alaska

National

ANCHORAGE, Alaska — Environment America and Environmental Action submitted 36,964 comments on Tuesday to the Environmental Protection Agency in support of using the Clean Water Act to protect Bristol Bay from a proposed gold and copper mine. In total, a national effort of environmental advocacy groups, commercial fishing, restaurants, anglers and outdoor stores generated more than half a million comments in favor of protecting this important watershed and salmon-breeding grounds in southwestern Alaska. 

“Bristol Bay is home to one of the last strong salmon runs in the world. To keep it that way, we must ensure the headwaters remain free of mining, dams and other destructive industrial activities,” said Alaska Environment State Director Dyani Chapman. “The whole ecosystem, including bears, birds, walruses, whales and freshwater-dwelling seals, depend on the salmon, and the salmon depend on healthy water. Local residents, scientists and the broader public all agree that this is quite simply a bad place for a mine.”

At the end of May, the EPA began collecting public comments on a Proposed Determination to use Clean Water Act provisions to provide protections for the Bristol Bay region from the proposed Pebble Mine.If the proposed determination is finalized, it will restrict the use of certain Bristol Bay headwaters as a disposal site for dredge and fill materials, in effect preventing the proposed Pebble Mine from moving forward. 

“The fight against the Pebble Mine has been raging for years, and in that time the public has taken over four million actions to protect Bristol Bay” said Environment American Public Lands Director Ellen Montgomery. “Across the globe, we are losing more nature every minute, and we must protect the most important places. It’s past time to finalize protections for Bristol Bay.” 

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