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May 3, 2010

Save Bristol Bay - from a disaster.

“I think everyone has to realize that we have something in Bristol Bay that doesn’t exist anywhere else on earth, and we owe it to ourselves and each other to protect it.”
Katherine Carscallen - Bristol Bay resident
"Do not be swayed by those who lead you to think that this mine will be an ecological disaster"  
Brice Jenkins - COO of Northern Dynasty Mines.

The Bingham Canyon open pit copper mine, Utah
-and the Berkeley Pit in Butte, Montana

Who has the right to place that kind of industry here?!!

First of all, here are some hard facts about the Bristol Bay area
Bristol Bay is home to some of the most premier sport fishing destinations on the globe including: the Nushagak, Mulchatna, Koktuli and Kvichak Rivers, and Talarik Creek. These vibrant, wild Alaska rivers are as productive now as they were thousands of years ago and serve as magnets for anglers from all over the world who want high-end, “once in a lifetime” fishing experiences.
Bristol Bay supports the world’s largest runs of wild salmon, trophy rainbow trout, grizzly bears, caribou and a strong commercial and sportfishing economy. The Kvichak River is home to the world’s largest sockeye salmon run and is also within Alaska’s designated trophy wild rainbow trout area. The Nushagak and Mulchatna Rivers support the largest Chinook (king) salmon runs in Alaska, and perhaps the world.

Bristol Bay Sport Fishing is Big Money Sport fishing and hunting are key components of the local and state economies.Recreation and tourism spending in Bristol Bay brings $90 million annually to the state in the form of taxes and licenses.Sport fishing accounts for roughly $60 million of that spending, with non-residents and high-end lodge clients contributing the most.

In 2007, anglers in Alaska spent nearly $1.4 billion on fishing trips, fishing equipment, and development and maintenance of land used primarily for the pursuit of sport fishing in Alaska.
Resident spending was $733 million and nonresident spending was $652 million.
Bristol Bay sport fishing supported 846 full- and part-time jobs and accounted for $27 million in total wages and benefits paid to employees and proprietors.
In total, an estimated 37,000 fishing trips are taken annually to Bristol Bay freshwater fisheries. Tourists from outside of Alaska comprised about one-third of those trips.

Bristol Bay is a place of international importance

Because of its prolific wild salmon runs and it's outstanding nature. The proposed Pebble mine as well as hard rock mining on adjacent state and federal land in the Bristol Bay watershed, threaten to pollute and desecrate this incredibly valuable and unique slice of the American landscape. The Bristol Bay watershed should be off-limits to Pebble and other large-scale mining projects. 
Bristol Bay is an outstanding and fragile natural treasure of international importance, once it is destroyed, it will never return, and then this planet have lost something much more valuable than gold! 

Save Bristol Bay - from a disaster
The Bristol Bay region of Southwest Alaska is home to the Kvichak and Nushagak rivers, the two most prolific sockeye salmon runs left in the world. Foreign mining companies Northern Dynasty Minerals and An- glo American have partnered to propose development of what could be one of the world’s largest open-pit and underground mines at the head- waters of the two river systems. Mine backers claim the Pebble explo- ration site is the second largest combined deposit of copper, gold, and molybdenum ever discovered, and has an estimated value of more than $300 billion.
Despite promises of a clean project by officials, the accident-plagued his- tory of hard rock mining has sparked deep concern from Alaskans who love and depend upon Bristol Bay’s incredible wild salmon fishery. Red Gold documents the growing unrest among Alaska Native, commercial, and sport-fishermen. It’s a portrait of a unique way of life that will not survive if the salmon don’t return with Bristol Bay’s tide.
What is the current status of the proposed Pebble Mine and other mining developments in Bristol Bay?
The Pebble Project is in the exploration, planning, and baseline study phases of project develop- ment. Predominantly comprised of mining companies Anglo America and Northern Dynasty Mines, the Pebble Partnership has already invested roughly $360 million on drilling and sci- entific study at the site. The information provided from these stages will be used in permit ap- plications filed with the State of Alaska. Although Pebble will require upwards of 50 permits from the State and extensive review by State and Federal agencies, there has never been a mine project rejected in the State of Alaska, once it had entered the permitting process. We anticipate Pebble’s permit filing to begin in late 2010 or 2011.

How can the citizens of Alaska, the United States, and countries around the world get involved in this controversial development issue?
Write. Donate. And spread the word. Vote with your fork (and salmon dollars) for Bristol Bay wild salmon. Write members of congress today and express your support for protecting the watershed from mining development. Ask the new administration, specifically Secretary of the Interior Salazar, to keep Bureau of Land Management (BLM) lands closed to mineral development. Write Alaska Governor Sarah Palin, and tell her why the Bristol Bay watershed and its astounding fishery resources are important to American citizens beyond Alaska and deserve higher standards of protection. Donate to the cause. Trout Unlimited and other nonprofits rely upon your support to continue efforts to protect Bristol Bay. Raise more awareness by sharing this information and buy the Red Gold film 
- link: If you have the opportunity to buy salmon, ask if it’s wild Alaskan or Bristol Bay salmon. By demanding Bristol Bay wild salmon, you are investing your dollars in Alaska’s renewable industries. Doing so reinforces the economic incentive to protect Bristol Bay.

Take action today - Help save Bristol Bay  
Use this direct link and the pre-made message to show your concerns, tell the Bureau of Land Management that you don't want a mining industry in Bristol Bay - send you message to day, and send it to your friends.
You will find the direct pre-made message to the Bureau of Land Management here - Link:
Also use this link to state you opinion on a pre-made mail message to Cynthia Carroll

Her statement were - "I will not go where people don't want us. I just won't. We've got enough on our plate without having communities against us."  
--Anglo American CEO Cynthia Carroll in Fast Company online magazine
Looks like this

And buy the Red Gold DVD - it is an absolutely must. Amazing scenery, 
great music and very well produced. Plus you will support a very good case. 
Watch teaser here!! (website: )

Does the money generated by the mine come back to benefit state and federal governments?
Northern Dynasty and its partner Anglo American are foreign mining companies that will take most of their profit out of the state and the country. Because antiquated 1872 mining law still governs U.S. operations, the state of Alaska will receive less than 1% of the resource’s mined value. In fact, many argue that the hardrock industry goes against the State of Alaska’s Consti- tutional mandate that resource development provide maximum benefit to all Alaskans.

What is the permitting process like in Alaska? What does the timeline for permitting look like in regards to the Pebble Mine?
The Alaska Department of Natural Resources (DNR) primarily governs the permitting system in Alaska. Because DNR’s mandate is to facilitate the permitting of development projects, the agency has never turned down a large mine proposal, though stages of review and revision are often part of the process. There are key issues that Pebble will need to address and prove, such as no lasting water damage, no lasting impact on the fish and wildlife of the area, etc. However, recent studies concluded that well over 70% of mines violate the clean water standards they agree to meet during permitting. Pebble is currently in the pre-permitting phase and will likely initiate the permitting process this year next year. A decision can be made in less than two years time, and construction can begin 2012. Because of the remoteness of the watershed and cost of funding research, there is very little long-term scientific data to inform decisions. The majority of base-line studiesare paid for by the mining companies themselves without appropriate checks and balances or third- party oversight of scientific research.

Why isn’t this watershed already protected given its importance to Bristol Bay fisheries and Alaska’s economy? What steps need to be taken for protection?
Many environmental standards critical to maintaining sustainable fisheries in Alaska have not been modified for decades, if at all, and the laws have simply not kept up with science and research regarding the risks of mining development. Alaska State law says the government must act in the “Best Public Interest,” and many argue for the very short-term benefits of mining over long-term benefits of renewable fisheries. Some proponents of Pebble development also argue that protecting this area in advance of the permitting process would be a preemptive strike at development before proposals are even finalized. However, the track record of hard rock mining shows the industry cannot coexist with fisheries without tremendous risk and detriment.The State of Alaska needs to acknowledge the track record of hard-rock mining, understand that this kind of development is incompatible with healthy fisheries, and support special designation of this area. The federal government also needs to value Bristol Bay’s fisheries as a global resource and ensure protection by keeping federal lands closed to mining. People around the State, the Country and the World, need to support protection of this area to push policymakers to act.

Photo credits

From Erin McKittrick's photo story of her 450 mile trek along waters endangered by the Pebble Mine - link to her website:
And also a lot of photo's provided by Scott Hed from Sportsman's Alliance for Alaska: in credit to: Terry Gunn, Scott Hed, Patricia Edel, Scott Kuchta, Barry and Cathy Beck, Jim Klug and Brian O’keefe
The source written information comes from the Red Gold website : and the Save bristol Bay website : 

For more information about Bristol Bay
Red Gold Film:
Trout Unlimited Alaska:
Why Wild:
Renewable Resources Coalition:
No dirty Gold:
The Pebble Partnership:
Anchorage daily News:
Anchorage Daily News, Pebble Blog: 61223
Erin McKittrick's website:
Sportsman's Alliance for Alaska:

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