ANCHORAGE, Alaska, July 1, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- More than 360,000 Americans urged the EPA to save 14,000 American jobs by protecting Bristol Bay, Alaska from the construction of a massive open-pit gold and copper mine that would threaten our nation's salmon industry with up to 10 billion tons of toxic waste. The EPA asked for Americans' views of the project as part of its scientific assessment of the impacts of large-scale mining on the environment and the people living in Bristol Bay. This process ended on June 30, and a preliminary tally shows that 68% of 527,192 submissions during the second round of public comment support EPA's findings and urge federal protection for Bristol Bay's unmatched fishery resources and fishing economy.
"This is an incredible victory for Bristol Bay, with hundreds of thousands of people across the United States recognizing that Bristol Bay's jobs, economy and way of life shouldn't be risked by a massive open-pit mine that could destroy this sustainable fishing industry and the 14,000 jobs it supports," said Bob Waldrop, executive director of the Bristol Bay Regional Seafood Development Association. "The results of two comment periods show that Americans want the federal government to act quickly to keep dangerous projects like the Pebble Mine out of Bristol Bay."
The bulk (more than 95%) of comments opposing EPA's Assessment came from Resourceful Earth, a Koch Brothers-funded, DC-based front group that is also financed through corporations like Exxon Mobil and their lobbyists.
"Once again the people of Bristol Bay and Alaska have made it powerfully and abundantly clear that they will not stand for a massive hard rock mine in the heart of our healthy, productive watershed and economy," said Brian Kraft, a sport lodge owner. "Now that the science shows that Pebble Mine would irrevocably harm the watershed, and the public participation shows that Americans and Alaskans overwhelmingly favor protection for Bristol Bay, it's time for President Obama to demonstrate leadership on this issue."
Submissions During EPA's 2nd Comment Period on the Bristol Bay Watershed Assessment, By the Numbers:
Total Comments: 527,192 (as of June 28)*
Total pro Bristol Bay protection: 362,235 (68%)
Total number of groups and businesses submitting comments: 1,358
- 1,322 (97%) in favor of protecting Bristol Bay, with only 36 (or 2%) opposing EPA's Watershed Assessment or protection for Bristol Bay
- Businesses and organizations include hunting and fishing groups, restaurants, churches, jewelers, lodge owners, conservation groups, Alaska Native tribes and more.
Combined totals of EPA's Two Comment Periods:
Total, all comments in the docket: 762,979 (as of June 28)*
Total pro Bristol Bay protection: 587,145 (77%)
Comments from Alaskans: 2,703 total, with 1,610, or 60%, in favor of EPA's Assessment
By the end of the year EPA will finalize its Bristol Bay Watershed Assessment, leaving the Obama Administration to make a decision whether to heed the call of hundreds of thousands of Americans to protect the world's greatest sockeye salmon fishery and the American jobs and economy that depend upon it.
*EPA continues to add comments to the docket, so a final tally will not likely be available for several weeks.
SOURCE Bristol Bay Regional Seafood Development Association