More than 250 national outdoor sporting businesses and organizations, representing millions of hunters, anglers and outdoor enthusiasts who value and depend on the highly productive Bristol Bay region of Alaska, have urged President Donald J. Trump to safeguard American jobs and industry by denying a key permit for the proposed Pebble mine in a letter delivered today.
The letter comes as the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is poised to release its final Environmental Impact Statement in the coming months, a key document in the permitting process for the large gold and copper mining proposal.
The letter was delivered by CEOs of The Orvis Company, American Fly Fishing Trade Association, and Trout Unlimited. “If built, the mine would immediately jeopardize thousands of American jobs, hundreds of businesses, a sportfishing and hunting paradise, and thriving outdoor industries,” the letter reads.
“Pebble mine would not only be bad for the environment, it would be bad for business. We got involved because we saw a direct threat to Bristol Bay’s substantial outdoor economy and commercial fishery, which so many businesses and communities rely on for financial security,” said Simon Perkins, chief operating officer of The Orvis Company. “Our customers travel from all over the world to the region to experience the unique landscape and to fish for wild, native salmon and trout, supporting a thriving tourism economy. Economically and environmentally, this mine is not worth the risk.”
“The President has the opportunity to make clear that he stands with rural America, a beloved swath of the Alaskan great outdoors, and American jobs, by denying the permit for the Pebble Mine. All we have to do to protect the best salmon and trout fisheries in the world is to have the good sense to simply leave it alone,” said Chris Wood, Chief Executive Officer of Trout Unlimited.
The rivers downstream of the proposed Pebble mine and its infrastructure are some of the most sought-after fishing and hunting destinations in the world. The Bristol Bay fishing and tourism industries together account for more than 14,000 full and part-time jobs and generate $1.5 billion annually for the local economy.
The letter highlights both the value of the Bristol Bay region, as well as problems with the massive mining proposal. The decision for the important federal permit for the proposed mine is expected by mid-2020.
"Alaskans have made clear for more than a decade that this mine is not wanted. Numerous state and federal agencies have pointed out flaws in the proposal and review. It's time to stand up for American jobs and our outdoor heritage, not a mining company based in Canada,” said Brian Kraft, president of the Katmai Service Providers and owner of two fishing lodges in the Bristol Bay area.
A similar letter signed by more than 30,000 individual anglers and hunters was also sent. Most of these signatures came in just three days last week.
“It’s not just Alaskans who have this on their radars. Sportsmen and women across the country care deeply about this issue because Bristol Bay is incredible by just about every standard you can measure it by. When tens of thousands of people stepped up in just a three-day span of time to voice their concerns to the President, I wasn’t surprised. Opposition to this mine, in this place runs deep,” said Ben Bulis, Executive Director of the American Fly Fishing Trade Association representing thousands of fishing businesses throughout the country.
“We’re not against mining, but this proposal and expedited review process are materially insufficient and threaten an American treasure and vibrant economy,” said Perkins. “Saving Bristol Bay is an easy decision for sportsmen and women, and Orvis.”
The American Fly Fishing Trade Association is the sole trade organization for the fly fishing industry. They represent fly shops, manufacturers, guides, outfitters, travel companies, sales representatives and media professionals across the country dedicated to the sustainable growth of the sport of fly fishing, individual businesses and the industry. www.affta.org
The Katmai Service Providers represents 64 Alaska fishing, hunting, bear viewing and tourism businesses that operate in the Bristol Bay region. Brian Kraft is the president of the KSP and the owner of two sportfishing lodges in southwest Alaska, one in Igiugig, Alaska and one near Dillingham, Alaska. www.Katmaipark.org
The Orvis Company: Founded in 1856, Orvis operates more than 80 retail stores in the U.S and the U.K., and maintains a network of over 400 dealers worldwide as a trusted source of fishing and hunting gear. They have millions of customers throughout the world. www.orvis.com
Trout Unlimited is the nation’s oldest and largest coldwater fisheries conservation organization dedicated to conserving, protecting and restoring North America’s trout and salmon and their watersheds. In Alaska we have worked in the Bristol Bay region for almost two decades along with thousands of members and supporters including dozens of businesses that depend on the fishery of the region. Follow TU on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram and our blog for all the latest information on trout and salmon conservation. For more information on the Save Bristol Bay campaign go to SaveBristolBay.org or tu.org.