VoteVets - my favorite Veterans organization -heeds the Call-Up and is mobilized...
Joining environmentalists, fishermen and women and just plain folks in Alaska, to stop the destruction of pristine land and waters by multi-national mining interests (and the Koch Brothers, of course!) attempting to "Open Pit" mine at Bristol Bay...
The Pebble Mine Project is a planned copper-gold-molybdenum porphyry mining project in the advanced exploration stage slated for state owned lands in SW Alaska. The plan is for cutting and gouging out the pristine land in a 20 sq mi area at the headwaters of the Kvichak and Nushagak Rivers, two of the eight major rivers that feed Bristol Bay - a plan that will destroy Bristol Bay and poison the surrounding lands...
|Map of proposed mine in relationship to fish populations|
From Save Bristol Bay at Trout Unlimited:
"... If built, Pebble would be one of the largest mines in the world. Because of its size, geochemistry and location, Pebble runs a high risk of polluting Bristol Bay, one of the world’s few and most productive wild salmon strongholds that supports a $500 million commercial and sport fishery. For this reason, Trout Unlimited is working with a diverse group of fishermen, guides, lodge owners, Alaska Natives, scientists, chef, restaurant owners, seafood lovers and many others to try to stop the Pebble development and to protect Bristol Bay.The proposed mine developers, the Pebble Limited Partnership (PLP) are a consortium of the world’s second largest multinational mining corporation, London-based Anglo American, along with Northern Dynasty, a junior mining company headquartered in Canada. Anglo American’senvironmental track record does not bode well for Bristol Bay and Northern Dynasty has little experience safeguarding the environment having never developed a mine to date. Although PLP has not released its final mine plans, preliminary designs indicate that the Pebble Mine complex would span 20 square miles of state land in the Bristol Bay watershed. Located in a seismically active region, Pebble would require the world’s largest earthen dam to be built, some 700 feet high and several miles in length. Independent scientists have questioned whether the dam could withstand the force of a massive earthquake, such as the 9.2 quake that devastated Anchorage in 1964.
The dam and 10-square-mile-wide containment pond are intended to hold between 2.5 billion and 10 billion tons of mine waste that Pebble would produce over its lifetime - nearly enough to bury the city fo Seattle, WA. Because the sulfide, or acid-generating, nature of the Pebble ore body, the waste wouldrequire environmental treatment in perpetuity. Any release of mine waste into the surface or groundwater has the potential to harm Bristol Bay’s salmon runs.The PLP recently stated that they plan to apply for federal and state permits in spring of 2011. With the developers moving toward permitting, now is the time to get involved to stop this mega-project and protect Bristol Bay. Now is the time to educate elected officials, agency heads, the media and anyone who cares about the future of wild salmon.
Economic Problems with Pebble:
In 2010, the Bristol Bay Fishing Industry brought in 153 million dollars with almost 29 million Sockeye Salmon being harvested.* Commercial fishing has been going on in these waters for over a century. Because of the careful management, the Bristol Bay Fishery is sustainable and as long as it stays carefully managed should continue indefinately. This industry employs thousands of people every year. The folks at Pebble Mine have offered a handful of local jobs for 50 years. 50 years of employment, and then Bristol Bay is left with a hole in the Earth over a mile wide and a lake of toxic waste. Doesn't make much economic sense. The companies are based in London and Canada. So while they line their pockets with gold, the United States loses one of it's National Treasures. Tourism in Bristol Bay brings in millions each year. With global warming bringing temperatures sweltering in the summers, more and more people will be wanting to migrate north for a vacation.
*Data collected from the Alaska Department of Fish and Game's 2010 Season Summary
Cultural Problems with Pebble:
There are people living in Bristol Bay. Thousands of Native people who have their entire culture intertwined with living off the land. They fill their freezers with salmon, moose, caribou, berries and other foods from the land. In the villages of Bristol Bay the predominant language is not English. These people have the right to continue their way of life. To pass on their dances, language, and stories to their children. Creating a toxic tailings pond that will someday leach into the water is cultural genocide. There is no way for the Pebble Partnership to assure an infinite watch on their toxic waste. When this poison gets into our streams it will force people to relocate.
Environmental Problems with Pebble:
To build the largest open pit mine in North America at the headwaters of the two largest Sockeye Salmon producing rivers on the planet seems preposterous. But that is exactly what two foreign mining companies are proposing in Southwest Alaska at the headwaters of the Nushagak and Kvichak Rivers. These rivers have had millions of healthy fish returning year after year for millennia. This area is wild. It is home to grizzlies, wolves, caribou, wolverines, foxes, otters, moose, and much more. All of these animals thrive here in Bristol Bay because of the abundance of clean water. At a time where clean water is becoming more and more rare, it only makes sense to preserve our last remaining supplies. Pebble also sits in a seismically active area. So the promises made of keeping the toxic waste contained are unattainable.
Why is VoteVets involved? Veterans from all over the nation go to Bristol Bay to become fishermen and women in order to work and support themselves and their families - not an easy job but a good one, especially for veterans that have been left unemployed and out in the cold by a government that ignores the needs of the warriors while promoting the wars.