Bristol Bay Tribes dismiss EPA announcement as corruption at its worst

Bristol Bay residents rally at the news that the EPA would consider withdrawing proposed protections for the region in 2017.

Bristol Bay residents rally at the news that the EPA would consider withdrawing proposed protections for the region in 2017.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Contact:
Alannah Hurley
, UTBB Executive Director, (907) 843-1633 or ahurley@utbb.org

Bristol Bay Tribes dismiss EPA announcement as corruption at its worst

DILLINGHAM, AK - Today’s announcement from the EPA is a direct assault on the years of work Bristol Bay’s Tribes have undertaken to protect our watershed. Today's announcement came with no prior notice, and in fact comes less than two weeks after EPA’s general counsel met with community leaders in Dillingham and stated he had no intention of changing the status quo at that time.

Bristol Bay residents and fishermen talk to EPA officials including Counsel Matthew Leopold at the Dillingham boatyard in June 2019, just weeks before Leopold directed EPA Region 10 staff to resume consideration of withdrawing proposed protections for the fishery. Photo Courtesy of Martin Speak.

Bristol Bay residents and fishermen talk to EPA officials including Counsel Matthew Leopold at the Dillingham boatyard in June 2019, just weeks before Leopold directed EPA Region 10 staff to resume consideration of withdrawing proposed protections for the fishery. Photo Courtesy of Martin Speak.


This bold faced lie was compounded today by the fact that EPA now intends to hold no public process in its deliberations to withdraw the Proposed Determination. Such a move not only disenfranchises the millions of people who have weighed in supporting the PD, but flies in the face of the federal government’s trust responsibility to consult with Tribes on matters affecting their way of life.

To be clear: nothing in the scientific or legal record has changed. The Bristol Bay Watershed Assessment determined that a mine even smaller than the one currently proposed by Pebble would have devastating consequences on the watershed, the fishery, and the people who depend on it for their livelihoods. Today’s announcement is the product of the millions of dollars Pebble has spent to buy support in the Trump Administration. It is a purely political decision designed for a sole purpose: to clear the path for foreign mining interests to plow through a toxic project that no one wants.

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The United Tribes of Bristol Bay is a tribal consortium representing 15 Bristol Bay tribal governments (that represent over 80 percent of the region’s total population) working to protect the Yup’ik, Dena’ina, and Alutiiq ways of life in Bristol Bay.