Can't Touch This

President Obama just protected the world’s largest sockeye salmon fishery from oil and gas drilling.

December 16, 2014

President Obama put Alaska’s Bristol Bay off limits to future oil and gas drilling by way of presidential memorandum today. By taking the bay, which is about the size of Florida, out from under the threat of Big Oil, he protected 40 percent of the country’s wild-caught seafood, the White House said in a blog post.

The move, though significant and welcomed by environmentalists, does not affect the proposed Pebble Mine planned for the region's headwaters. That project, though, has suffered many setbacks of its own in recent months and could be blocked by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency under the Clean Water Act. 

Bristol Bay is home to the world's largest sockeye salmon fishery and the endangered North Pacific right whale, as well as several other threatened species, including sea otters and walruses. The bay “is a beautiful natural wonder,” the president said, “and it’s something that’s too precious for us to just be putting out to the highest bidder." Good call, sir.

Photo: B Mully

Photo: Todd Radenbaugh

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