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7.15.2014

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: Alannah Hurley (907) 843-1633


United Tribes of Bristol Bay oppose suite of bills threatening EPA’s ability to protect salmon

Bills under consideration this week would derail EPA’s 404(c) process to protect Bristol Bay salmon from large-scale mining by altering Clean Water Act

DILLINGHAM, AK —United Tribes of Bristol Bay strongly oppose three bills under review this week that would upset the transparent, science-based process that would enable the EPA to protect Bristol Bay salmon from large-scale mining in the region. Specifically, the so-called, “Regulatory Certainty Act” (HR 4854), reconsiders the 404(c) process requested by the Tribes to protect Bristol Bay. The hearing for HR 4854 begins in committee Tuesday morning in Washington, D.C.

“We are frustrated and disappointed that no Bristol Bay residents were invited to testify at the committee meeting as they discuss upsetting the effort we requested to help protect our salmon and livelihood when the state of Alaska turned its back on us,” said Robert Heyano, President of the United Tribes of Bristol Bay. “The state elected to pursue short-term industry profit over the desires of thousands of Alaska Natives who depend on healthy Bristol Bay fisheries for subsistence and livelihood. Now, members of Congress are attempting to follow suit and remove our last hope of saving our salmon from short-sighted mining in our home waters.”
 
Bristol Bay is currently threatened by large-scale mining like the Pebble Mine proposal, which if built, would be one of the largest mines in the world. The 404(c) process requested by the United Tribes of Bristol Bay can finally provide certainty to the Alaska Natives who depend on the fishery, as well as over 14,000 fishing-related jobs in the region. After a three-year independent study, the EPA found that mines like Pebble would directly impact salmon habitat and health in Bristol Bay.
 
“We hope the members of the committee will keep in mind that salmon are our livelihood and critical to our culture. By gutting the Clean Water Act, they would leave us at the mercy of a company that has said they were months away from applying for permits for nearly eight years now,” said Heyano. “The bottom line is Pebble cannot be trusted, the State will not listen to us, and the EPA is the only entity that has taken our concerns seriously.”
 
“This bill, HR 4854, would undercut years of scientific study and public involvement in Bristol Bay, and could ultimately pave the way for mines like Pebble to be built in Bristol Bay,” said Heyano. “The United Tribes stand in strong opposition to the efforts of these Lower 48 Congress members, and continue to support EPA’s thorough process to protect Bristol Bay.”

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United Tribes of Bristol Bay is a tribal consortium working to protect their traditional way of life and the Bristol Bay watershed from large-scale metallic sulfide mining.




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United Tribes of Bristol Bay
PO BOX 1252
Dillingham, Alaska 99576
US

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