Fly Fishing for Trout Home
User Password
or register.
Scientific name search:

> > Bristol Bay, Alaska, and the threat of the Pebble Mine

TroutnutDecember 1st, 2007, 11:30 pm
Bellevue, WA

Posts: 2736
I haven't been following this story very closely because I've been engrossed in other things, but it is pretty important. A Canadian and a British mining company are trying to open up what might become the most environmentally dangerous mine ever, right at the source of the watersheds of Bristol Bay, Alaska. Tonight I found a really good summary of the issue on a political website, and from there I found an article in Fly Fisherman with another good overview.

Governor Palin seems to be pretty strongly pro-fishing, and she's certainly not in the corrupt cronyist Ted Stevens class of politicians, but she hasn't been willing to state unequivocal opposition to this mine yet, which is worrisome. It's baffling, too, because this is one of the few issues on which the major economic interests in Alaska, and the vast majority of Alaskan voters, and the native organizations, and the external environmentalists (including TU and FFF) are all on the same side. I sent Governor Palin an email and would suggest that anyone else with an interest in Alaskan fishing do the same through this web form:

And keep it polite. This seems to be a politician who's on the verge of doing the right thing and needs a little nudge, not someone who should be the target of an angry tirade. Here's one of the arguments I put in my letter

The greater good of so many should never be put at risk of such great damage for the profits of a few, however minor the risk of an accident might be.

The remaining debate seems to be about this question: if the mine can be done safely, why not do it? I believe that with an industrial project of such an unprecedented scale in such a sensitive area, there's no way a risk assessment could capture everything that might go wrong. The damage that might be done due to natural disasters, unforeseen engineering failures, terrorist sabotages, or long-term chemical effects is too severe. Even if the chance of such a disaster is 1 in 100,000, that's far too great a risk to take with such an important resource. Therefore the Governor should join most other citizens of the state in flatly opposing the mine.
Jason Neuswanger, Ph.D.
Troutnut and salmonid ecologist
CaseyPDecember 2nd, 2007, 10:39 am
Arlington, VA/ Mercersburg, PA

Posts: 653
you and the governor sure made contacting her simple and easy! thanks for helping us find another avenue of communication.
"You can observe a lot by watching." Yogi Berra
MartinlfDecember 2nd, 2007, 5:51 pm
Palmyra PA

Posts: 3222
Thanks, Jason, and Casey; I sent her an email too.
"He spread them a yard and a half. 'And every one that got away is this big.'"

--Fred Chappell
CaseyPDecember 3rd, 2007, 1:20 pm
Arlington, VA/ Mercersburg, PA

Posts: 653
lest you fear that your e-mail to the governor will simply disappear into the ether, know that today i got 1) the usual automatic reply from the system, and 2) a real reply from the aide in charge of the issue. real in that it addressed the issue; i assume anyone getting a reply would get the same thing. still, something to let us know we're not ignored completely.
now, how can we make tourism earn more than extractive industry? we tourists sure pay a lot...
"You can observe a lot by watching." Yogi Berra
TroutnutDecember 3rd, 2007, 2:12 pm
Bellevue, WA

Posts: 2736
I think the monetary value of the Bristol Bay resource is worth WAY more money to Alaska than this mine; not even the politicians seem to be disputing that. It's not just tourism, either. Commercial fishing is also huge. So is subsistence use by the native villages in the region. The mine's worth a lot of money but mostly to the company. The state's cut would be small and the people's cut zero, unlike with oil (which is why this is a far more clear-cut issue than the ANWR drilling).

I think people are holding out on the hope that the mine can be put in place without putting the salmon in jeopardy. I think that's a mistake -- that the risk of unforeseen problems is too great with a project of this magnitude, and even an optimistic assessment of the predictable risks should not justify the project.

Jason Neuswanger, Ph.D.
Troutnut and salmonid ecologist

Quick Reply

You have to be logged in to post on the forum. It's this easy:
Username:          Email:

Password:    Confirm Password:

I am at least 13 years old and agree to the rules.

Related Discussions

TitleRepliesLast Reply
Re: Must Read This on my New Reel Purchase
In Gear Talk by 6106b
1Dec 17, 2019
by Wbranch
Re: Gunnysack Creek Photos
In by GldstrmSam
3Jul 15, 2012
by Troutnut
Re: Fly-fishing in Greece
In Fishing Reports by Mike1974
11Jul 3, 2014
by Tolis_L
Re: One of Shawn's Salmon Flies
In the Photography Board by Shawnny3
9Dec 13, 2007
by Jmd123
Re: A bunch of new Alaska photos on a new site
In General Discussion by Troutnut
1Mar 31, 2008
by Lifeaquatic
Spam/scam by private message -- let me know
In General Discussion by Troutnut
Re: Lots of stoneflies...but minimal mayfly hatches...WHY?
In General Discussion by Flyhatch
4Jan 26, 2008
by Konchu
Re: Fish Report : Holy Waters
In Fishing Reports by Brian314
4Jun 1, 2022
by Brian314
Re: Boiling Springs Run
In General Discussion by Wbranch
6Dec 7, 2009
by Martinlf
Re: Seeking Mature Fly Fishing Partner in Virginia
In General Discussion by Steverz
6Mar 9, 2019
by Steverz
Most Recent Posts
I build landing nets & this is my favorite one of the year
In Gear Talk by TinaLewis
Western montana
In General Discussion by Flycrazy
Re: Thanksgiving
In General Discussion by Michimike (Jmd123 replied)