The country has spoken. 200,000 people took the time to submit comments on the EPA’s Watershed Assessment on Bristol Bay, AK. More impressively, 98% of them agreed with the EPA’s findings in opposing Pebble Mine.
The Assessment concludes that Bristol Bay’s wild salmon fishery and other natural resources provide at least 14,000 full and part-time jobs and is valued at about $480 million annually. The EPA also found that even at its minimum size, mining the Pebble deposit would eliminate or block 55 to 87 miles of salmon streams and at least 2500 acres of wetlands – key habitat for sockeye salmon and other fishes. Are you concerned yet?
It appears that the country is in fact concerned, yet the result is now out of our hands. The Obama administration, with help from the EPA, must now move forward on implementing a 404C to firmly protect the region. Are 200,000 voices enough to be heard? We must wait and see.