Ads Urge EPA to Protect Bristol Bay, Veto Pebble Mine
Broad-based coalition rolls out new media campaign on print and digital platforms in DC, calling on EPA to stop the Pebble Mine and permanently protect Bristol Bay.
A broad, bipartisan coalition of local, state, national and international groups—representing Bristol Bay Tribes, commercial fishermen, sportsmen, businesses, and conservation organizations—launched a media campaign this week urging the Biden Administration and EPA to veto the Pebble Mine and permanently protect Bristol Bay, Alaska.
The multi-week print and digital media blitz, which targets the DC beltway, includes paid ads in the Washington Post, New York Times, Politico, The Hill and E&E.
The ads call on EPA to stop the Pebble Mine—a giant gold and copper mine proposed at the headwaters of the world’s greatest wild salmon fishery in Bristol Bay.
Bristol Bay needs—and deserves—lasting protections that stop the Pebble Mine and prevent future threats of large-scale mining. Last year, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers made the only legally and scientifically justifiable decision available and denied Pebble Mine’s Clean Water Act permit application. But that denial was only a temporary solution, which Pebble Mine proponents are currently appealing. Led by the Tribal and business leaders from Bristol Bay, voices from around the nation and world are calling on the Biden administration to permanently protect “one of America’s greatest national treasures.”
Bristol Bay is the world’s most valuable salmon fishery, supplying 57% of the world’s wild sockeye salmon, generating $2.2 billion in annual economic activity, and supporting 15,000 American jobs. But the Pebble Mine—and its more than 10 billion tons of toxic mining waste— would destroy it all.
The ad ran as a wrap in the Washington Post yesterday.
Digital ads are running on E&E and the Washington Post websites this week and next.
The ad campaign launched two weeks after United Tribes of Bristol Bay released this powerful video:
The ads support and amplify the vision of long-term protection for Bristol Bay put forward by the Tribal and business leaders of the region.* In December 2020, Bristol Bay Native Association (BBNA), United Tribes of Bristol Bay (UTBB), and Bristol Bay Economic Development Corporation (BBEDC) issued the “Call to Protect Bristol Bay,” which urges:
- EPA action under Section 404(c) of the Clean Water Act to veto the Pebble Mine.
- Congressional action to create a National Fisheries Reserve in the Bristol Bay Watershed.
More than 270 Tribal, fishing, hunting, conservation, and business groups—including NRDC—have joined in support of the “Call to Protect Bristol Bay.”
Overwhelming support exists for EPA to permanently protect Bristol Bay from the ongoing threat of the Pebble Mine.
- On February 18, 2021, UTBB sent a letter to EPA formally requesting 404(c) protection: “Our Tribes firmly believe, and therefore formally request, that the EPA use [its] authority under the Clean Water Act and make ending the threat of the Pebble Mine a top priority.”
- On February 24, 2021, UTBB published an Open Letter (and full-page ad in Politico) to President Biden urging him to secure lasting protection for Bristol Bay through EPA’s exercise of its Section 404(c) authority: “The Tribal people of Bristol Bay and those whose livelihoods depend on its waters have dealt with uncertainty from the threat of the Pebble Mine for far too long. Your administration has the opportunity to end that uncertainty by protecting this national treasure and securing the future the people of Bristol Bay deserve.”
- On March 1, 2021, Commercial Fishermen for Bristol Bay submitted a letter to EPA urging the agency to use its Section 404(c) authority to protect Bristol Bay: “In spite of consistent findings by both the EPA and Army Corps of Engineers that the Pebble Mine would pose unacceptable adverse impacts to the Bristol Bay watershed and fisheries, the Bristol Bay region remains vulnerable to large-scale mining and the door remains open for the Pebble Mine to be developed. Without Clean Water Act 404(c) protections in place, Bristol Bay is not safe and Bristol Bay’s fishermen cannot rest.”
- On March 8, 2021, NRDC sent a letter to EPA urging immediate action under Section 404(c): “For the good of the people, economy, and environment in the region and beyond, we urge EPA to act swiftly. Please prioritize preserving the Tribes, communities, and jobs that the Bristol Bay fishery supports over furthering the interests of a foreign mining company. And please bring long-awaited certainty to those whose lives and livelihoods depend on Bristol Bay’s clean water and salmon.”
- On March 11, 2021, Congressmen Jared Huffman (D-CA), Chair of the House Natural Resources Water, Oceans, and Wildlife Subcommittee and member of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, and Peter DeFazio (D-OR), Chair of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee formally urged EPA to use its 404(c) authority to protect Bristol Bay: “[W]e urge you to focus the EPA’s resources on Bristol Bay and reinstate science based protections for this globally significant watershed and the thousands of people who depend on it. Any Pebble Mine mining operations—regardless of size—open the door to decimation of the livelihoods, cultures, and economy of Native Tribes and Bristol Bay communities—a risk that is far too great to jeopardize one of the last pristine habitats in the United States. The EPA should exercise its authority under the Clean Water Act to put common sense protections in place immediately.”
- On April 7, 2021, fifty investment firms representing more than $105 billion in assets called on EPA to permanently protect Bristol Bay from the Pebble Mine: “EPA should use its authority under Section 404(c) of the Clean Water Act to immediately restrict mine waste disposal in wetlands, rivers and streams within the Bristol Bay watershed.”
- On April 15, 2021, thirty-seven regional, state, national and international groups sent a letter to EPA urging decisive action to protect Bristol Bay: “Reinstating Clean Water Act 404(c) protections would answer the call for justice from Bristol Bay Tribes, indigenous communities, commercial and recreational fishermen, business owners, and conservationists. It would deliver a win-win-win for environmental justice, the economy, and the environment.”
The groundswell of support for permanent protection recognizes that although the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers denied the Pebble Mine permit last year, that denial was a temporary reprieve and not a permanent solution. Indeed, Pebble is currently appealing that decision. And that permit denial does not prevent Pebble—or any other mining company—from seeking a new permit.
We need a permanent solution.
Bristol Bay deserves permanent protection from the ongoing threat of the Pebble Mine.
The people and commercial fishermen of Bristol Bay whose lives and livelihoods depend on Bristol Bay’s clean water and abundant salmon deserve certainty that the region remains safe from large-scale mining.
Issuing Clean Water Act 404(c) protections would deliver a win-win-win for environmental justice, the economy, and the environment.
Stand with the people of Bristol Bay and urge EPA to act now.
* Collectively, BBNA, UTBB, and BBEDC represent the cultural heartbeat and economic livelihood of Bristol Bay. BBNA is Bristol Bay’s regional nonprofit tribal consortium representing 31 Bristol Bay Tribes; UTBB is a tribal consortium representing 15 Bristol Bay tribal governments that represent more than 80 percent of the region’s total population; and BBEDC represents 17 communities promoting economic growth and opportunities for Bristol Bay residents.