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Originally Posted: 26 August 2009
Protect Bristol Bay Wildlife From Mining
Tell BLM and Department of the Interior to reject the Bush plan to open up 1.1 million acres of Bristol Bay watershed to hard rock mining -- and protect critical habitat for bears, wolves, salmon and eagles. Comment period closes September 1.
Sign an online petition
And/Or better yet, make direct contact:
Bob Abbey, Director,
Bureau of Land Management
1849 C Street NW, Room 5665
Washington DC 20240
phone (202) 208-3801
fax (202) 208-5242
Secretary of the Interior
Department of the Interior
1849 C Street N.W.
Washington DC 20240
phone (202) 208-3100
fax (202) 208-6950
The Bristol Bay watershed is one of the world's most productive wild Chinook salmon fisheries, and is critical to the survival of Alaska's eagles, brown bears (Alaska's grizzlies), and seals, as well as native Alaskan communities.
For more than 30 years this vital watershed, which is surrounded by protected areas, has been closed to mineral extraction. But last year the Bureau of Land Management, under direction of the Bush administration, proposed a Resource Management Plan that would open up 1.1 million acres of this unspoiled wilderness to hard rock mining, putting subsistence and commercial fishing activities, as well as wildlife, at risk. The Management Plan is particularly problematic because the land is adjacent to the proposed site of the controversial Pebble Mine which, as one of the world's largest gold and copper mines generating over 9 billions tons of waste, would pose a risk to the entire Bristol Bay ecosystem.
You know the dismal record of hard rock mining. A survey over 40 years shows nearby water resources are polluted 85 percent of the time.
Earlier this year the State of the Salmon conference concluded that Bristol Bay's salmon fishery was a globally significant resource and top conservation priority. Yet the region is now at risk of being permanently transformed if hard rock mining resource extraction commences here with potentially devastating impacts on the fishery.
Secretary Salazar has said he will abide by your recommendation. I'm sure you would not want to be the one who reversed three decades of sensible protections in favor of an ill-advised, ill-informed Resource Management Plan from the Bush administration, which failed to set aside enough Areas of Critical Environmental Concern and also failed to designate enough Wild and Scenic Rivers. Therefore I urge you to reconsider the Bush plan that favors short-term mineral development over long-term land management and direct BLM to prepare a Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement that reflects the exceptional value of the lands and waters of Bristol Bay. Working to maintain the current withdrawal of public land from federal appropriation until adequate safeguards are put in place, BLM will fulfill its obligation to this public land.
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