June 13, 2014 – Yesterday, Rep. Bob Gibbs (R-OH) and Nick Rahall (D-WV) introduced H.R. 4854, The Regulatory Certainty Act of 2014, which seeks to prevent the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) from exercising its 404(c) authority under the Clean Water Act (CWA) to proactively protect our watershed and provide certainty for Alaska’s most valuable salmon fishery.

Today, the Bristol Bay Regional Seafood Development Association released the following statement from its executive director, Sue Aspelund.

The Clean Water Act is intended to serve as the foundation for protecting our nation’s waters and water-based resources, including salmon, and has done so for over 40 years.

It is the same legislation that currently provides a pathway for securing economic certainty for nearly 2,000 small businesses based in Bristol Bay. These businesses have operated under the threat of the Pebble Mine for nearly a decade now. The uncertainty for our individual fishing businesses, as well as Bristol Bay’s hard-earned reputation in the global salmon marketplace, can only be put to rest through CWA protections.

We are extremely disappointed that two Lower-48 congressmen are taking aim at the very provision in the CWA that provides EPA’s longstanding legal authority to protect Bristol Bay’s salmon-rearing headwaters. Just as the EPA has begun its lawful process, these lawmakers seek to pull the rug out from under it, putting 14,000 jobs and a $1.5 billion fishing economy at risk.

Bristol Bay’s salmon resource has sustained the people of this region for hundreds of generations. Representatives Gibbs and Rahall put that priceless legacy at risk. We respectfully invite them to visit us here in Bristol Bay so they can better understand the action we are seeking through the CWA, and the culture, history, and industry it aims to protect.

Bristol Bay is an economic powerhouse and a national treasure. It supports the nation’s largest and most valuable salmon runs. Once again, the fishermen of Bristol Bay – hailing from 34 states and supporting a $1.5 billion salmon-based economy – call on every member of Congress to support EPA’s authority under Section 404(c) and protect Bristol Bay.

Sue Aspelund, Executive Director

Bristol Bay Regional Seafood Development Association

(360) 927-4295