Concerned Pebble mine hurts fishery

COURTESY TO THE BELLINGHAM HERALDMay 19, 2013 

As a commercial fisherman who relies on the health of the Bristol Bay salmon resource in Alaska, I was happy to see your article published April 26th discussing the EPA's release of their revised Bristol Bay Watershed Assessment. Once again, the study has confirmed that large-scale open pit mine operations and world-renowned wild salmon spawning habitat cannot coexist, especially in this particular region. This truth was recently reinforced with statements from mineral giant Cominco, Ltd.'s former head of environmental affairs, Bruce Switzer. He suggested that Pebble's delay in finalizing a mine plan is simple: they logistically cannot create a profitable business model for this deposit -- which is why Cominco sold it for "peanuts" and waived all project rights. With corporate strife upstream at Anglo American, it would be certain that, if a mine went in, operating budgets would be trimmed bare, and billions of gallons of toxic waste stored in perpetuity atop a $1.5 billion salmon industry would be far from a safe endeavor for Alaskans and our world. This is of extreme importance to the hundreds of Bellingham residents who rely on the Bristol Bay commercial salmon fishery for income. Our basic future demands an aggressively refined creativity in how we develop our renewable and non-renewable natural resources. Pebble is far from this, and you and I will have to clean it up.

Lange Solberg

Bellingham

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