Thank you for the opinion piece by Pat Pitsch about Bristol Bay, Alaska, and all of the economic benefits it brings Washington state. I have made a good part of my living supporting my family from fishing the bay and I know many other Washingtonians who do too. Bristol Bay's world-renowned salmon fishery, which supplies half the sockeye in the world, supports 12,000 fishing and processing jobs. Additionally, almost all major Bristol Bay processing companies are based in Seattle, and many of the supplies and services used in the industry are purchased in Washington state.
The proposed Pebble Mine in the headwaters of Bristol Bay would have significant negative impacts on the fishery and the Pacific Northwest. Even without a disaster, the Pebble project would destroy up to 90 miles of salmon streams and 4,800 acres of wetlands, and that is unacceptable to Bristol Bay's communities, fishermen and Alaska natives. The proposed mine would be three times larger than any mine in the U.S., producing up to 10 billion tons of toxic mine waste that would be stored onsite forever, behind earthen dams in an earthquake-prone area. I believe there's no way we should sacrifice a healthy, sustainable industry that produces jobs and revenue every year to a foreign-owned mine that could destroy this bounty and leave us with a huge mess to cleanup. Let's be responsible before it's too late.