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McDermott and Bonamici to EPA: Protect Bristol Bay from Harmful Pebble Mine

January 30, 2014
Press Release

WASHINGTON, DC –Today, Jim McDermott (D-Wash.) and Suzanne Bonamici (D- Ore.), as well as eight other members of Congress, sent a letter urging Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Gina McCarthy to use the authority of the EPA to protect Bristol Bay from the proposed Pebble Mine.

Home to all five species of North American Pacific salmon, the Bristol Bay fishery provides thousands of jobs and supports a vibrant tourism industry. A recent EPA Watershed Assessment clearly indicated that large scale mining, like the proposed Pebble Mine, poses significant near- and long-term dangers to salmon and wildlife.

“The safety of our food, tourism, and industry is too important to toy around with,” said Rep. Jim McDermott. “The economic gain of Pebble Mine is worthless if we irreparably damage some of our leading industries in the process. The Pacific Northwest understands the value of our waters and will fight for them. We must preserve Bristol Bay.”

“The EPA’s final Watershed Assessment confirms the significant concerns of many of my constituents and colleagues,” said Rep. Bonamici. “The salmon habitat in Bristol Bay is too important to Alaska and the Pacific Northwest to jeopardize with an industrial mining operation. The EPA should shut down the Pebble Mine once and for all, and protect Bristol Bay for my constituents and for all Americans.”

The letter follows a June letter signed by many of the same members, which called on President Obama to “move quickly to protect Bristol Bay from any open pit mining that would threaten the Pacific region’s fishing economy.”

“Bristol Bay is home to one of our nation’s most productive salmon fisheries. It provides thousands of jobs and is a major boost to the region’s economy,” said co-signer, Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.), who led the June letter to the President. “I will continue to oppose any efforts to develop an open-pit mine in Bristol Bay.”

Read the full letter here.