Protect Bristol Bay!

Bristol Bay
Photo Credit: USEPAGOV on Flickr

Bristol Bay, Alaska, is a wild, largely unspoiled eco-system. Over a half a million square miles of rivers, streams, lakes and wetlands support the largest remaining wild salmon populations and habitat on Earth. Millions of salmon return to their spawning grounds in the pristine waters of the bay each year. In turn, the salmon nourish the ecosystem and support a sustainable human economy that provides 14,000 full and part time jobs and is valued at $480 million annually. The Native peoples of the region depend on the salmon for sustenance and during the annual salmon run fill their freezers and smokehouses for the coming year.

Currently the EPA is considering a proposal to mine gold, copper and other minerals in the heart of Bristol Bay, known as Pebble Mine.

In order to extract billions of tons of raw ore from the earth, an enormous open pit, two miles across and 2,000 feet deep, would be gouged into the ground. Billions of tons of mine waste would be dumped into man-made lakes created by flooding 10 square miles of land behind earthen dams more than 600 feet high. Dangerous chemicals would be dumped into these lakes located in an active earthquake zone.

The environmental risks of this project are enormous, but equally important are the devastating repercussions the mine will have on the indigenous peoples of Bristol Bay, who have lived on these lands for generations and depend on the bay’s salmon for their survival. The practice of intentionally selecting communities of color for waste disposal sites and polluting industrial facilities – essentially condemning these communities to contamination – is known as “environmental racism.” The United Church of Christ has historically been a champion for environmental justice across the nation and it is essential that we join with our native sisters and brothers in speaking out about the very real impact this project will have on their lives and communities.

Learn more about Bristol Bay and Pebble Mine.

The indigenous communities in the area, along with environmentalists, those who hunt and fish, and people of faith are all joining the chorus of voices calling on the Administration to protect the bay. Send a letter to the President now!

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    • President Barack Obama

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