Bristol Bay Advocates in D.C. Urging Strong Protections

Tribal representatives, commercial fishermen, restauranteurs, and conservation groups—including NRDC—are meeting with the Biden Administration and Members of Congress urging them to finalize Clean Water Act protections for Bristol Bay by the end of 2022.

Fly-in Meetings and Paid Media Call on EPA to “End the Threat” of the Pebble Mine by Issuing Strong, Durable, and Comprehensive Clean Water Act Protections for Bristol Bay, Alaska 

In support of the fly-in, a diverse, bipartisan coalition of groups representing millions of supporters across Alaska and the world launched a new print, TV, digital, and mobile billboard media campaign in Washington, D.C. and Alaska. Full-page print ads are running in the DC edition of the New York Times, Politico, and Anchorage Daily News; a wrap in the Washington Post; TV ads on CNN; digital ads online; and mobile billboards around D.C. 

Building on the momentum of the media campaigns that the Bristol Bay Defense Fund and NRDC ran this year (in February, March, May and June 2022), the new ads echo the call for EPA to veto the Pebble Mine and issue strong and durable protections for Bristol Bay. 

The media campaign coincides with a week-long celebration of Bristol Bay's wild salmon fishery. Several DC-area restaurants will be participating in Bristol Bay Salmon Week by featuring Bristol Bay sockeye salmon dishes on their menus, and the Bristol Bay Native Corporation is hosting a wild salmon celebration.

Bristol Bay is the world’s most valuable salmon fishery, generating $2.2 billion in annual economic activity, supporting 15,000 jobs, and supplying 57% of the world’s wild sockeye. A record-shattering 78.4 million sockeye salmon returned to Bristol Bay this year. 

Bristol Bay salmon have sustained the Yup’ik, Dena'ina, and Alutiiq way of life for more than 4,000 years, and are the lifeblood of the Tribes’ language, culture, spirituality, and community.  

Yet Bristol Bay remains at risk from the ongoing threat of the Pebble Mine – a giant gold and copper mine proposed at the very heart of this economic engine, cultural lifeblood, and extraordinary biodiversity.

As United Tribes of Bristol Bay Executive Director Alannah Hurley says in this powerful video:

The recorded salmon runs have never been larger. The chorus of Alaskans has never been louder. And the EPA is so close to ending this nightmare…Now is the moment to end the threat and veto Pebble Mine.  

Under Section 404(c) of the Clean Water Act, EPA has the authority to veto the Pebble Mine and permanently protect Bristol Bay.    

EPA is considering it. The agency just concluded a public comment period on its revised 404(c) proposal that would, if finalized, provide long-term protection for waters that are essential to subsistence, commercial, and recreational fishing—as well as Indigenous communities. EPA said that it would take the next step in the 404(c) processincluding potentially issuing a recommended and final determination—by December 2022. 

EPA can end the threat. And the time to act is now. 

We urge EPA to finalize strong, durable, and comprehensive 404(c) protections for Bristol Bay by the end of this year. 

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