Concerned about mine's impact on wilderness

COURTESY TO THE BELLINGHAM HERALDApril 26, 2013 

In 1974, as a kid from Michigan, I got lucky in getting work as a fishing guide in southwest Alaska, now ground zero for the proposed Pebble Mine. It was then and still is pristine wilderness with no roads and millions of fish.

Foreign mining corporations are trying to build a huge open pit mine near the headwaters of the regions two legendary rivers; the Kvichak and Nushagak. A leak into those rivers could destroy these legendary salmon runs forever, even without the almost inevitable large scale accident.

Bristol Bay is my family's livelihood and it helps create thousands of commercial fishing and processing jobs in our state, to go along with hundreds of millions in economic activity. It gives opportunity for our young people to experience a life that used to be. Because of its impact in Washington, Senators Cantwell and Murray have supported EPA's efforts to ensure Bristol Bay is protected. Unfortunately, Congressman Rick Larsen has yet to show his support for protecting Bristol Bay and the jobs it creates in Washington.

I believe Pebble would destroy a vast wilderness, and put at great risk this incredible salmon and fishery resource. Congressman Larsen's support is vital as the EPA nears the completion of its watershed assessment, upon which it could base future regulatory decisions for Bristol Bay. I hope he stands with his constituents on this important issue.

Dave Hansen

Bellingham

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