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News Release

United Tribes of Bristol Bay

Yesterday, Bristol Bay tribes released the following statement in reaction to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s announcement that the agency intends to further delay the process to protect Bristol Bay from Pebble Mine. A letter sent today indicates the Environmental Protection Agency will issue a revised Clean Water Act Section 404(c) Proposed Determination (PD) for Alaska’s Bristol Bay watershed by May 31, 2022. This would be a step backward in the process, significantly delaying the timeline beyond the long-standing request of tribes in the region to finalize protections by the start of the fishing season in June.

Alannah Hurley, Executive Director of the United Tribes of Bristol Bay, released the following statement in response:

"We are deeply disappointed that after months of outreach to the Environmental Protection Agency officials requesting robust tribal consultation on the process moving forward, the  Environmental Protection Agency’s announcement today further delayed the years-long effort to protect Bristol Bay without hearing our input. The Biden administration and the Environmental Protection Agency have committed to consult tribes in their decision-making process, but this should have taken place before today’s announcement. Now, at least one more fishing season could be imperiled by uncertainty.

"Not only does this move delay long-overdue and urgently needed protections, it also flies in the face of Administrator Regan’s stated commitment to environmental justice, which he recently touted on his Journey to Justice Tour,” said Hurley. “Our tribes deserve better. The Environmental Protection Agency must provide tribes, fishermen, and communities in the region the certainty that their way of life, cultural and spiritual identity, and the local economies are protected. That means, first and foremost, upholding their trust responsibility to the tribes of Bristol Bay. The Environmental Protection Agency can and must work quickly to get back on track, the science is clear and they must finalize protections for our region. As the Environmental Protection Agency’s process moves forward, the Environmental Protection Agency must advance a science-based and transparent process that includes true tribal consultation and opportunities for public input. We hope the agency will clarify this timeline so that we can finally achieve permanent protections for Bristol Bay, our tribes, and way of life as soon as this summer.”

About United Tribes of Bristol Bay

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.

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