The Pebble Mine, a proposed project for the headwaters of Bristol Bay, Alaska, would be a disaster of epic proportions to the last great salmon watersheds on the planet. This is open pit mining at it’s worst, with enormous levels of habitat destruction, cyanide- and heavy-metal laden holding ponds, earthen dams and toxic tailings, all in an extremely active seismic region. The EPA recently released a study of the project, showing that Pebble would put fish, wildlife, indigenous peoples and their way of life at peril.
A victory for sure, but not a slam dunk. The project is still possible, and Washingtonians have a lot at risk. Beyond the stellar recreational opportunities (I worked as a fishing guide there for five summers), the Bristol Bay commercial fishing industry is valued at $1.5 billion, and of that, $500 million comes directly back to Washington (where a majority of the fishing fleet is based, along with numerous processors, distributors, etc). This money supports more than 5000 jobs in this state. The Pebble Mine puts all of that at serious risk.
So, our United States Senator, Maria Cantwell, is organizing a rally to stop Pebble and support Washington fishing jobs. It’s this Thursday, appropriately enough, at Fishermen’s Terminal in Seattle, at 12:30pm. If you can make it, your presence will make a difference in the statement we’re trying to make: Washingtonians don’t want Pebble to go forward, and we’re serious about it.