Dear Administrator Regan and Regional Administrator Sixkiller,
Bristol Bay, Alaska, is home to a $2.2 billion annual salmon fishery that provides more than 15,000 jobs and supplies 50 percent of the world’s sockeye salmon. But Bristol Bay is more than just home for the largest wild sockeye salmon runs in the world. It’s also a lifeline for the people of Bristol Bay and all those who depend on its immense cultural and economic value. The science is clear. If built, Pebble Mine would permanently poison Bristol Bay’s waters and imperil the greatest wild salmon fishery left on Earth.
The majority of Alaskans and millions of Americans support EPA action to end the threat of Pebble. We want to see Bristol Bay protected for good. It’s time for the EPA to expedite the 404(c) process and finalize protections this year. The EPA’s action must protect several critical Bristol Bay subwatersheds: the North Fork Koktuli, South Fork Koktuli, and Upper Talarik Creek—all of which support the productivity of Bristol Bay’s wild salmon and are under threat from Pebble and large-scale mines like it.
I urge you to listen to the communities of Bristol Bay when shaping protections for this region. The Clean Water Act 404(c) process must provide true protections to the headwaters, not just limitations based on past mine plans. I urge you to move swiftly and finish this process quickly.
Please finish the job and ensure that Bristol Bay’s pristine lands and waters are protected in perpetuity.