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I am writing to ask your support in a very simple fashion for one of the fishing and hunting world’s most pressing conservation battles. This is an issue which has brought together over 820 hunting and angling groups and businesses, ranging from catch and release anglers and fly rod makers to bear hunting guides, big game hunters and manufacturers of firearms and ammunition.
If you have an interest in doing a small thing to help, here is the letter that we’re sending to the EPA on Bristol Bay, Alaska and the proposed Pebble Mine. It would be great to add your company to the signers.
If you have any questions, please let me know.
Otherwise, to lend your support and be included on the letter, simply respond to me by email with these 4 pieces of information:
Organization or Company Name Gary Engberg Outdoors
Your Name Gary A. Engberg
Your Title CEO
City, Country Mazomanie, Wisconsin
Right now, there are 825 total signers across the USA and a number of foreign countries on this letter.
Aldo Leopold Chapter (TU)
Thanks for your consideration of this request. If you have any questions at all, don’t hesitate to contact me.
Sportsman’s Alliance for Alaska
August 9, 2011
Environmental Protection Agency
Cc: Ken Salazar, Secretary of Interior
Bob Abbey, Director Bureau of Land Management
John Jarvis, Director National Park Service
Dear Administrator Jackson,
We the undersigned hunting and angling organizations and businesses representing millions of sportsmen, outdoor recreation groups and related businesses commend you on your recent visit to the Bristol Bay region in southwest Alaska. Your effort to meet with the region’s local residents is greatly appreciated, as the world’s greatest wild salmon fishery is facing unprecedented threats from proposed development of a massive mining district. We write today to ask you to use all the tools at your disposal to protect a sport fishing and hunting destination that is unrivaled in America and perhaps the world, for this and future generations of sportsmen and women.
The proposed Pebble Mine in Bristol Bay, Alaska poses numerous significant and potentially long-lasting threats to one of the world’s foremost sport fishing and hunting regions. Specifically, fish habitat (including spawning and breeding grounds), wildlife habitat and recreational areas are all threatened by several hardrock mining proposals – most notably, the Pebble Mine. The potential impact from this type of activity could be severe. It is estimated that the Pebble mine would produce between 2.5 and 9 billion tons of waste containing elements, such as copper and other heavy metals, that would threaten several fishery areas including spawning and breeding grounds for world-renowned populations of salmon. If this project moves forward, these toxins would have to be contained and potentially treated in perpetuity – in an area of high seismic activity, which increases the risks tremendously. Because the Pebble property straddles the Kvichak and Nushagak river drainages – two of the most productive salmon systems on the planet – any release of this waste into the surface or groundwater has the potential to severely harm Bristol Bay’s salmon and the livelihoods of the sport fishing and hunting business owners, all of whom depend on them for their economic support.
Sport fishing in Bristol Bay generates $60 million annually; anglers looking for “once in a lifetime” experiences on rivers such as the Nushagak, Mulchatna, Koktuli and Kvichak support more than 800 full- and part-time jobs. Mining activity and increased development associated with mining will detrimentally impact these areas by direct impacts to fish and habitat. Development will also negatively impact opportunities for sport fishing and hunting operations in the area by diminishing the quality of the experience. Despite the remote nature of the region and the costs associated with traveling to it, on a yearly basis up to 65,000 visitors come to Bristol Bay for recreational opportunities to fish, hunt, and view wildlife.
Secretary Salazar and the Obama administration recognized that oil and gas development in this area is simply not worth the risk, the same is true for mining operations in the headwaters of Bristol Bay. The fish and wildlife values in the region, its size and setting, and the national significance of its resources are, in the words of Secretary Salazar and President Obama, “a national treasure that we must protect.” The risk to this national treasure is too great and the resource too unique and irreplaceable to allow the Pebble Project to continue forward. While the nation is still struggling to come to grips with the impacts from the devastating spill in the Gulf of Mexico this summer, we have the opportunity to ensure that Bristol Bay is not jeopardized by large scale industrial development in fish and wildlife habitat.
The undersigned organizations and businesses urge EPA to proactively fulfill its mission to protect the environment and human health in Bristol Bay, AK by using its authority under CWA Section 404(c) to withdraw waters and wetlands in the headwaters of the Bristol Bay watershed from future specification as disposal sites for dredge and fill activity associated with mining operations. The EPA has an opportunity now to guarantee a future for Bristol Bay that will generate economic opportunities while also conserving sporting traditions for generations to come.
We look forward to working with the EPA and all federal agencies with an interest and role in the future of Bristol Bay’s tremendously productive lands and waters.
SIGNATURES INSERTED HERE