To the future President of the United States,
My name is Analouise, I live in a fairly small town in the Bristol Bay region of Alaska. I am currently a senior in high school and would like to share with you one of my concerns regarding the water and land in my region. For many Alaskans, our land is important to us because it is how we get our food. Currently, the Pebble Mine proposal is putting this in jeopardy. Without clean water and land, we would no longer be able to fish, which is not only a food source but also a method of employment for Alaskans.
The Pebble project is a large partnership that plans on setting up a copper mine within Southwestern Alaska. It would be located along the Nushagak River, which serves as a huge provider for salmon and other wild game. If the mine were to be built, it would be the largest in the Northern Hemisphere, so large it would be visible from outer-space. They plan on using twenty square miles of land actively used by the people in Bristol Bay. It would require the greatest earthen dam approximately, 700 feet deep and some miles wide. The purpose of it would be to hold 2.5-10 billion tons of toxic waste. If there were to be any leakage, there is a large possibility of ruining Bristol Bay’s salmon runs (Mine Proposal, 2016).
Not having salmon would leave many Alaskans without jobs. Over 14,000 positions are provided to fish workers, who make more than $1.5 billion a season. Bristol Bay would not be the only one affected. Our salmon is sent all across the world to be served in restaurants, stores, and dinner tables of many families (Wild Alaska Salmon, 2015). Bristol Bay is the last remaining wild salmon fishery in the world, without our salmon industry the world would have a harder time receiving wild Alaskan Salmon (Bristol Bay Sockeye, 2016).
The Pebble Partnership said the structure of the mine is safe from all leakage possibilities (Mine Proposal, 2016). However, the Mount Polley Mine built in 2014 in British Columbia, Canada by the same constructors of the Pebble Mine failed to meet their safety guarantees. This caused a great disaster. The mine’s dam collapsed, allowing twenty-four million cubic meters of mine waste to percolate into the neighboring lakes and rivers (Mount Polley Mine Disaster, 2016). This proves that the Pebble Mine is not safe for our land and therefore, should not be built.
Our land is far too important to be put at risk by a mine. A possible solution you may look into is motivating the Environmental Protection Agency to make stricter guidelines on environment protection programs. A great step made was the Bristol Bay Clean Water Act which demands a permit from Section 404 in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers before anyone places fill material into lakes, ponds, or wetlands (Environmental Protection Agency, 2016). With enough rules, these acts can make it impossible for the Pebble Mine to go through. I highly encourage you to consider the importance of our land, fishing industry, and the danger the Pebble Mine poses.
Good luck on your upcoming term,
"Mine Proposal." Save Bristol Bay. Save Bristol Bay, n.d. Web. 03 Nov. 2016.
Alaska, Wild. "Our Company - Wild Alaska Salmon & Seafood." Wild Alaska Salmon and Seafood. Wild Alaska Salmon and Seafood, 23 Nov. 2015. Web. 03 Nov. 2016.
"Know Your Fisherman." Bristol Bay Sockeye Salmon. Bristol Bay Sockeye, n.d. Web. 03 Nov. 2016.
Meissner, Dirk. "Mount Polley Mine Disaster." CBCnews. CBC/Radio Canada, 04 Aug. 2016. Web. 03 Nov. 2016.
"Bristol Bay 404(c) Process." EPA. Environmental Protection Agency, 18 May 2016. Web. 04 Nov. 2016.