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Bristol Bay to EPA: Finish the Job
Our coalition is sending a clear message to the Biden Administration: it’s time to protect Bristol Bay for good.
Once again, Alaska’s Bristol Bay salmon fishery continues to break records. And once again, the Tribal voices, fishermen, and communities of the region continue to call on the EPA to veto Pebble Mine and protect Bristol Bay.
Early last week, fishermen on the Nushagak River caught record numbers of sockeye, with more than 1,820,000 and 1,770,000 fish landed on consecutive days. This record catch further underscores the irreplaceable value of Bristol Bay’s wild salmon fisheries. Yet even as fishermen are working hard to feed the world, Northern Dynasty CEO Ron Thiessen, who leads the toxic Pebble Mine project, continues to assure his investors that the Pebble Partnership has “by no means given up on this project.”
This week, with the urgency to protect Bristol Bay still high, the Bristol Bay Defense Fund—our joint campaign with Alaskan Tribes, fishermen, and conservation groups—is launching our “Finish the Job” campaign. This campaign is a comprehensive outreach and media effort that aims to make it clear to the Biden Administration that when it comes to protecting Bristol Bay, we can’t afford to wait.
The media campaign (scroll down for our video) and invitation come at the convergence of anniversaries. A decade ago, officials from the Obama-Biden Administration’s Environmental Protection Agency visited Bristol Bay and heard regional representatives make the case for the importance of protecting this vital fishery and the communities it supports. Last week, the United Tribes of Bristol Bay extended a similar invitation to new EPA Administrator Michael Regan. A letter from the United Tribes of Bristol Bay urged Regan to visit the region to see “firsthand why this irreplaceable landscape must be protected.”
Our message is clear: now is the time for President Biden to finish the job of protecting this irreplaceable fishery—work that began in earnest in 2014, when President Obama first visited the shores of Bristol Bay as the Obama-Biden EPA initiated the Clean Water Act 404(c) process that would have protected the area from mining. During his 2020 campaign, then-candidate Biden promised that his administration would finish the work of the Obama-Biden Administration. Now we’re calling on President Biden to make good on that promise.
We have heard campaign promises from the Biden Administration but we are still waiting for action to ensure our cultures and communities are protected and justice is served.” —United Tribes of Bristol Bay Executive Director Alannah Hurley
“A decade ago, EPA leaders visited Bristol Bay for the first time—and nearly six years ago we stood on the shores of Bristol Bay with President Obama,” says United Tribes of Bristol Bay Executive Director Alannah Hurley. “Yet, we’re still living under the threat of Pebble Mine. We have heard campaign promises from the Biden Administration but we are still waiting for action to ensure our cultures and communities are protected and justice is served.”
Our new “Finish the Job” campaign urges the Biden Administration to protect Bristol Bay before the end of September by vetoing the permit for the Pebble Mine using the EPA’s authority under section 404(c) of the Clean Water Act. Given the Biden campaign’s stated commitment to Tribal justice, the 404(c) process offers a clear opportunity to listen to Indigenous voices on the need to stop Pebble Mine.
This is the first in a series of TV, digital, and print ads to encourage President Biden to take action by September. You can join us in raising the volume of this campaign by sharing the media pieces on social channels and tagging @EPA and @POTUS.
Please help us send our message loud and clear to EPA and the Biden Administration. This is our collective chance to protect Bristol Bay for good.