Date: 9/26/17 12:14 pm
From: Russ Oates (via carolinabirds Mailing List) <carolinabirds...>
Subject: Update #2 on conservation issues (posted August 23)
Carolina Birders,

This is the second update to my August 23 post regarding important
conservation issues. *The purpose of this post is to notify you that one
of the issues identified in the August 23 post is in play right now. Now
is the time to express your opinion on this issue.*

*Issue:* Withdrawal of the EPA proposal to protect the Bristol Bay
Watershed from the proposed Pebble Mine.

*Desired outcome:* Maintain the 2014 Environmental Protection Agency
position protecting the area from mining and provide permanent protection
to the watershed.

*Status:* At the request of 9 Alaska Native tribes who live in the
vicinity of the Bristol Bay watershed and are dependent upon the salmon
resource, the Environmental Protection Agency completed a Bristol Bay
Watershed Resource Assessment in 2014 that concluded that the mine would
pose an unacceptable risk to the salmon fishery and other important natural
resources. This decision was based on a little-used provision of the Clean
Water Act. According to CNN, newly-appointed EPA Administrator Scott
Pruitt met with the CEO of the Pebble Project in early May (2017) and,
within hours, Pruitt directed the agency to withdraw the proposal to
protect the area from mine development. This enables the Pebble
Partnership to begin the permitting process that could ultimately lead to
full blown development of the mine. *The EPA is accepting public
comments until October 17 on it's decision to set aside the 2014 proposal
to protect the Bristol Bay Watershed. Please send your comments as soon as
possible by mail to:* Water Docket, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency,
Mail Code 28221T, 1200 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20460
Attention: Docket ID No. EPA-R10-OW-2017-0369 *You may also submit
your comments online through the federal eRulemaking Portal: *Docket ID
No. EPA-R10-OW-2017-0369 Go to *
< >* and follow the online instructions for
submitting comments. *Or, you may email your comments:* Send email
to: *<ow-docket...>
<ow-docket...> * Include the docket number EPA-R10-OW-2017-0369
in the subject line of the message.

*Background:* Pebble is a massive mining project proposed for Alaska state
lands in the middle of the watershed containing the spawning area of the
largest sockeye salmon stock in the world (and large numbers of the other 4
species of salmon as well). In addition, sockeye hatchlings live 1-2 years
in stream-connected lakes within the watershed until they are large enough
to go out to sea. Roughly half of the world’s wild-caught salmon comes
from Bristol Bay. If developed, the mine will be among the largest mines
in North America and the highly toxic tailings will be stored behind the
largest earthen dam in the world (over 700 feet tall and several miles
long.) This is a seismically active area, and independent scientists doubt
whether the dam would survive a major earthquake on the order of the one
that severely damaged Anchorage and several other southcentral Alaska
coastal communities in 1964. Needless to say, the failure of this dam would
be catastrophic for the salmon and potentially for the many species of
marine birds (including Emperor Geese and ESA listed Steller’s Eiders) that
use Bristol Bay as a foraging area during migration. In 2010, nine Alaska
Native tribes in the Bristol Bay Region, concerned about the Pebble Mine
proposal, requested the EPA to conduct a resource assessment of the Bristol
Bay Watershed. After extensive investigations, this area was declared by
the EPA in 2014 to be too valuable and vulnerable to mine, but the Trump
administration resurrected the project. If you like to eat wild salmon or
support sustainable management of wild salmon, you have a dog in this
fight. Please, take a moment to check out this web site:
< >* On the economic side of the story,
the salmon fishery is sustainably managed and supports 14,000 seasonal and
full-time jobs that would be jeopardized by the mine.

*Bottom line: Pebble mine has a high probability of having disastrous
impacts on the most important sockeye salmon fishery in the world. The
environmental and economic damage of a tailings dam failure would be

Future generations will thank you for any help you can provide!

Russ Oates
Burnsville, NC

*Conserve wild things, protect wild places.*

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