News Release

United Tribes of Bristol Bay

More than a thousand Bristol Bay residents, several thousand Alaskans, and more than 125,000 Americans are calling on the Biden Administration to enact permanent protections for the Bristol Bay watershed.

On the anniversary of President Barack Obama’s visit to Bristol Bay, United Tribes of Bristol Bay submitted approximately 3,500 comments to the Environmental Protection Agency, asking they use Clean Water Act authority to permanently protect the region from mines like Pebble. Those letters come after about 125,000 letters were sent by supporters in the state and nation so far this year, adding to the 2.1 million comments submitted to Environmental Protection Agency since Bristol Bay Tribes first petitioned the agency for Clean Water Act protections in 2010.

Alaska-based groups including Commercial Fishermen for Bristol Bay, Defend Bristol Bay and Stop Pebble Mine submitted thousands of comment letters this year, as did many national entities including Natural Resources Defense Council, Earthworks, Friends of the Earth, and others.

The Biden Administration is urged to enact permanent protections for the Bristol Bay watershed and stop Pebble Mine.

The Biden Administration is urged to enact permanent protections for the Bristol Bay watershed and stop Pebble Mine.

“The people of Bristol Bay are very clear: we want the Environmental Protection Agency to take action to protect our watershed,” said United Tribes of Bristol Bay Executive Director Alannah Hurley. “Six years after President Obama stood on our beaches and recognized our region as a national treasure that needed protections, one year after Biden’s campaign promise to finish that work, and almost twenty years of facing this threat, we are still waiting for action. We appreciate the support of so many around the nation who stand with us to call on the Environmental Protection Agency to uphold their responsibility and permanently protect Bristol Bay.”

President Obama visited Bristol Bay on September 2, 2015, calling it “critical” to “protect this incredible natural resource.” But the effort to provide Environmental Protection Agency protections was halted by politics under the Trump Administration, and the Biden Administration has yet to take action to resume and finalize protections for the region.

“We can’t wait any longer. Bristol Bay needs certainty that our salmon fishery and the economy and way of life it supports will continue to support generations to come. It’s time for the Environmental Protection Agency to finalize protections for our watershed,” said Commercial Fisherman for Bristol Bay Executive Director Katherine Carscallen.

Bristol Bay Native Association represents 31 Bristol Bay Tribes & is the regional nonprofit tribal consortium providing social, economic, and educational opportunities to tribal members.

Bristol Bay Economic Development Corporation represents 17 CDQ communities & exists to promote economic growth and opportunities for Bristol Bay residents through sustainable use of the Bering Sea fisheries.

Commercial Fishermen for Bristol Bay is a national coalition of fishermen working to protect Bristol Bay, Alaska.

United Tribes of Bristol Bay is a tribal consortium representing 15 Bristol Bay tribal governments (that represent over 80 percent of the region’s total population) working to protect the Yup’ik, Dena'ina, and Alutiiq way of life in Bristol Bay.

Earthworks is a nonprofit organization dedicated to protecting communities and environment from irresponsible mining.

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