Army Corps aims to release final environmental review for the Pebble Mine while Bristol Bay’s fishing fleet is gone fishing

Pictured: The area of the proposed Pebble Mine in Bristol Bay Alaska.(Photo: Erin McKittrick, CC BY-SA [creativecommons.org/ licenses/by-sa/3.0/])

Press Pool

Bristol Bay fishermen call on Congress and EPA to restore public trust in permitting process

News Release

Commercial Fishermen for Bristol Bay

As Bristol Bay’s commercial fishermen, seafood processors, and residents prepare for the return of a forecasted 49 million sockeye salmon, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is nearing completion of its environmental review for the proposed Pebble Mine  a toxic project that Alaska’s commercial fishermen have long fought. The Army Corps says that it is sticking with its original timeline of a final Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) in mid June and a final permitting decision as soon as 30 days later when Bristol Bay’s fishermen and residents are occupied fishing and unavailable to respond and engage. 

“Alaska’s fishermen have taken the time and resources over the last two years to engage in the Army Corps’ permitting process. We have less confidence now than we did in the beginning that the Army Corps is listening to our questions and concerns, let alone the concerns of other agencies, including Alaska’s Department of Fish and Game,” said Frances Leach, United Fishermen of Alaska Executive Director. “They are letting the Pebble Partnership’s lobbyists drive this process instead of the well-documented, peer-reviewed science that clearly shows the Pebble Mine would cause unacceptable adverse impacts to Bristol Bay’s world-class salmon fishery.”

“As Bristol Bay’s fishermen head out to the fishing grounds for the next six weeks, we are counting on Congress to protect the 14,500 workers directly employed by the Bristol Bay commercial salmon fishery and not let this corrupt permitting process move forward any further,” said Bristol Bay Regional Seafood Development Association Executive Director, Andy Wink. “Pebble Mine is a threat to Alaskan jobs, America’s food security, and a salmon resource unparalleled anywhere on the planet. It’s a toxic project that would sit at the headwaters of the world’s most pristine ecosystems. The Pebble Project must be stopped right now. It is not fair to future or past generations for this Administration to sacrifice a natural treasure as unique as Bristol Bay.” 

“It is unconscionable that, despite overwhelming comments and outcry requesting an extension and revision to the Pebble Mine permitting process, the Army Corps has continued to rush its environmental review and aims to release a final permitting decision while Bristol Bay grapples with the challenges of harvesting, processing and supplying half the world’s wild sockeye salmon during a global pandemic,” said Katherine Carscallen, Bristol Bay resident and Executive Director for Commercial Fishermen for Bristol Bay. “We look to Alaska’s Senators for their leadership and implore the Environmental Protection Agency to use its authority under the Clean Water Act to veto Pebble’s permit. The Environmental Protection Agency’s own science and comment letters to the Army Corps show that this project poses an unacceptable risk to our country's greatest remaining wild salmon runs.”

About Commercial Fishermen for Bristol Bay

Commercial Fishermen for Bristol Bay is a national coalition of fishermen working to protect Bristol Bay, Alaska and the 14,000 jobs, $500 million in annual income, and $1.5 billion in economic activity that Bristol Bay’s wild salmon provide. 

Commercial Fishermen for Bristol Bay - logo June 2020
(Image: Commercial Fishermen for Bristol Bay)
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