EARTHblog » Bonnie Gestring
December 19, 2014
In conjunction with our partners and allies, Earthworks is proud to accept the BENNY award today on behalf of the Bristol Bay campaign to protect the world’s greatest wild salmon fishery from destructive mining. The BENNY awards are issued each year by the Business Ethics Network for successful corporate campaigns to achieve social and environmental change. Read more here.
Over the last few years, Earthworks, Nunamta Aulukestai, Natural Resources Defense Council and other local, state and national allies have worked to convince two mining giants, Anglo American and Rio Tinto, that Bristol Bay is simply the wrong place for large-scale mining. With Anglo American and Rio Tinto’s divestment from the Pebble Project in 2013 and 2014, we are one step closer to lasting protection for this phenomenal ecosystem.
Now, we look to the Environmental Protection Agency to use its authority under Section 404(c) of the Clean Water Act to finalize the restrictions against mine waste disposal in the headwaters of Bristol Bay, which it proposed in July 2014. These restrictions will protect the rivers, streams and wetlands that provide vital spawning grounds for the salmon to reproduce, and ensure that the Bristol Bay salmon fishery will continue to supply more than 14,000 annual jobs, produce half of the world’s supply of wild sockeye, and sustain the Alaska Native communities who rely on the salmon as their primary source of food.
Every year, millions upon millions of wild salmon return to the headwaters of Bristol Bay, like no place else on earth. Next year, a surge of more than 53 million wild salmon are predicted to return! Let’s make this the year that Bristol Bay protections are complete.
October 22, 2014
On the two month anniversary of the Imperial Metals Mount Polley Mine tailings dam failure, I travelled with colleagues from Bristol Bay, Alaska to see the area first-hand. At the hospitality of the Northern Shuswap Fisheries Department, we travelled by boat across Quesnel Lake to see the mouth of Hazeltine Creek where the tailings spill emptied into the lake. Despite two months of cleanup, the mouth is still choked with massive trees that were carried downstream by the powerful force of the tailings breach, which transformed a small salmon stream into a broad corridor piled with mine waste.