Why jeopardize Bristol Bay ecosystem?

The fact that Pebble Mine is even being considered in such an extremely valuable habitat blows my mind. Why are we willing to let wealthy international corporations make an obscenely large profit at the expense of what is pure and dear to the heart of Alaska? We should take great pride in offering a sustainable and renewable food product to the rest of the world especially at a time when many of the world's fisheries are being depleted; here in Alaska they are still healthy and strong.  The past century has brought great advances in science and technology, allowing us to observe, monitor and carefully manage the fragile ecosystems and spawning habitat of Alaska salmon. These efforts have helped us better understand the delicate balances that keep the fish coming back year after year.  With so much invested into the acquisition of this knowledge why then are we willing to jeopardize entire system?

The fishermen and countless others that rely on wild Alaska salmon to be they very backbone of their livelihoods deserve security. The 1989 Valdez oil spill demonstrated what is at stake when this security is denied. The more recent Gulf disaster was another sickening lesson of just who stands to loose most when companies are careless. In order to uphold Alaska's reputation for producing the world's highest quality salmon and seafood, we need 100% security that an environmental disaster will not happen in Bristol Bay. The only way to truly ensure a 100% guarantee is to stop the progression of Pebble, now. If we do not act as responsible stewards of this land today, someone, will have to deal with the cost of what could happen tomorrow. It may not be in our lifetime, but sooner or later someone will have to begin the cleanup process after an earthquake that will cause a dam break, that will leach billions of tons of toxins into Lake Iliamna, that will take a few hundred years before it can begin to regenerate new life. The mining corporations behind pebble are doing all they can to fill our ears with propaganda and promises that this gruesome scene could never happen, but even the richest companies in the world cannot stop earthquakes, therefore if Pebble is built it could happen. 

The proposed mine site would lie in the same fault zone that created the 1964 earthquake, the largest in the northern hemisphere. Pebble would require dams up to three times larger than the Three Gorges Dam in China to hold massive amounts of cyanide and sulfuric acid. Seeps and springs near the surface generate the watershed in this region and form a sponge-like terrain that can easily soak up contaminants, depositing them in the Upper Talarik Creek and Koktuli River drainages.

As a scientist and Alaskan fisherwoman, my training and experiences give me insight to look at the larger picture and long-term consequences of this project. I feel that Pebble is the biggest recipe for disaster that Alaska has ever faced.


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