Hundreds of businesses nationwide support EPA action to protect Bristol Bay, Alaska's American jobs and fishing resources

Jul 18, 2012, 14:57 ET from Save Bristol Bay campaign

ANCHORAGE, Alaska, July 18, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- In a letter released today by the Save Bristol Bay campaign, more than 700 businesses across the United States called on President Obama and the EPA to protect Alaska's Bristol Bay, and the 14,000 jobs that depend on its unparalleled wild salmon fishery. The letter urges the Obama Administration to use a power under the Clean Water Act called Section 404 (c) authority to prevent the negative impacts of Pebble Mine or other inappropriate development in the productive, clean watershed. 

These 712 businesses join a large and growing assortment of job creators and industries that have called on the Obama Administration to protect Bristol Bay, including leaders in the jewelry industry, investment firms, outdoor industry, and commercial fishing.

"We're grateful that EPA did a thorough scientific analysis of Bristol Bay's renewable resources, but now it's time to take the next logical step. The President needs to use the Clean Water Act to protect this national treasure, and the many businesses and jobs that rely on it – like my lodges in Bristol Bay," said Brian Kraft, owner of the Alaska Sportsman's Lodge and Alaska Sportsman's Bear Trail Lodge.

Use of Section 404(c) would establish a clear set of protective guidelines for the region now, providing the many businesses dependent on natural resources in Bristol Bay with the certainty they need to continue to grow and prosper. Such proactive use would prevent mega mining and other large‐scale development, while allowing responsible development and investment to progress.

Bristol Bay's sustainable resources generate upwards of $500 million annually, and provide roughly 14,000 jobs. The sockeye salmon fishery supplies nearly half of the sockeye harvest in the world.

"Bristol Bay is too important a fishery to risk with a large-scale mine like Pebble," said K.C. Walsh, owner and president of Simms Fishing Products, in Bozeman, Montana. "Conserving Bristol Bay is important to our customers and to the future of jobs in recreational angling and related businesses. We ask President Obama to secure Bristol Bay once and for all."

The EPA released a 338-page Bristol Bay Watershed Assessment in May 2012 documenting Bristol Bay's productive sockeye salmon fishery as the single largest run on Earth, with up to 40 million fish returning annually to spawn. The comprehensive assessment also found that even without a major catastrophe or a series of cumulative spills or leaks, mining the Pebble deposit would destroy up to 87 miles of salmon streams and up to 4,200 acres of wetlands. The proposed Pebble Mine would dig up to 10 billion tons of toxic mine waste that must be treated and stored in perpetuity in an area prone to earthquakes and floods.  

"Our nation's food industry cannot afford to lose the world's largest sockeye supply to a hard metal mine of unimaginable size and scale.  We need to protect our last sustainable seafood sources while we still can," said Rick Moonen, Las Vegas-based chef/owner of rm seafood.

For more information:
Kristin Dizon, or 206-718-2350

SOURCE Save Bristol Bay campaign