Tim Bristol and Bob Waldrop: Congressional hearing on Pebble Mine only serves to delay lasting safeguards for Bristol Bay’s people and valuable fishery

ANCHORAGE, AK – Tim Bristol, Alaska Program Director for Trout Unlimited, and Bob Waldrop, Executive Director of the Bristol Bay Regional Seafood Development Association, made the following statement after today’s House Natural Resources – Energy and Mineral Resources Subcommittee – hearing entitled: EPA vs. American Mining Jobs: The Obama Administration’s Regulatory Assault on the Economy.

“As Norman Van Vactor clearly stated today, the Bristol Bay Watershed and its $1.5 billion salmon economy is no place for the Pebble Mine. The science in the EPA’s draft Bristol Bay Watershed Assessment makes a strong case for using the Clean Water Act to protect the region; any further delay in finalizing the assessment only causes additional economic uncertainty for those who rely on Bristol Bay’s sustainable fishing economy.

“Unfortunately, the premise of today’s hearing served as nothing more than a distraction from the real issue: providing lasting safeguards for Bristol Bay’s people and its valuable fishery. This is especially true since the government remains in a shutdown, preventing the EPA – with over 90% of its staff furloughed – from providing a witness to a hearing in which the agency was a subject.

“Moving forward, we hope the members of the subcommittee listen to the 84% of Alaskans, 98% of Bristol Bay residents, and hundreds of thousands of their fellow Americans who understand the Pebble Mine is not worth the risk. The EPA should finalize the Watershed Assessment as soon as possible, and use the Clean Water Act to ensure the continued economic health of Bristol Bay and the 14,000 fishing jobs that rely on it.”