Wild salmon are found at the center of Alaskan life, supplementing dinner, providing work, and maintaining a healthy ecosystem. For over a decade, this way of life has been under threat in Bristol Bay with the looming danger of the Pebble Mine.

Save Bristol Bay
A “No pebble” sticker, possibly one of the most popular emblems in the fly fishing industry as of the last year. Photo courtesy of Save Bristol Bay.

Though it was temporarily put down under the Obama administration in 2010, Pebble wasn’t completely defeated. In 2020, the Army Corps of Engineers finally rejected Pebble’s plan, ruling that it was in violation of the Clean Water Act, and was not in the interest of the public.

The conservation industry was hoping that Pebble was gone for good, until the Pebble Limited Partnership appealed the Army Corps’ decision. The most worrying part is that Alaskan Governor Michael Dunleavy is continuing to voice his support for the mine.

Save Bristol Bay found that 62% of Alaskans were against the proposed Pebble Mine. Though more than half the population, one might wonder why more people aren’t against Pebble. Mining and drilling operations in Alaska have been successful largely due to the rewards they offer locals.

Want to drill on indigenous land? Try buying out locals by offering annual checks to residents so that you can be allowed to drill. Many Alaskans are receiving money from oil and mining companies in exchange for land access.

Last chance to say No Pebble mine! Speak out before May 30
Photo courtesy of trustees.org.

The Pebble Mine is an existential threat to the Alaskan way of life, and to 85% of the world’s wild sockeye salmon. The Bristol Bay fishing industry generates an estimated $1.5 billion annually and provides over 14,000 people with work. Compared to Pebble’s planned 2,000 workers and $1 billion over twenty years, it’s easy to see the clear choice. It’s time for Pebble to get off the agenda.

If possible, I encourage you to give Governor Dunleavy a call. Reach him at (907) 465-3500 and remind him that he speaks for Alaskans. Say whatever you like(respectfully), but get the message across that Pebble does not belong in Bristol Bay. Not now, not ever.

Developers say Pebble Mine won't hurt Alaska's Bristol Bay. The facts say  otherwise.
Iliamna Lake in Bristol Bay is right at the proposed mine site. Photo by world wildlife.org.

The fly fishing industry would like to see permanent protections for Bristol Bay to keep ideas like Pebble from happening in the future. For now, let’s get Pebble off of Dunleavy’s agenda and remind him what he stands for.

Ryan Rintala | Social Media @mattheronflyfishing