The Land Before Time

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Worth Protecting  Photo by Louis Cahill

Worth Protecting Photo by Louis Cahill

By Carter Lyles

The United States government in 1867 bought the 49th state,

twice the size of Texas, for two cents an acre from the Russian Empire, who feared that it could be seized by Britain if war were to break out. The territory officially became part of the United States on January 3rd of 1959 under the Eisenhower Administration.

If you have ever been to the great state of Alaska, then you would know that it is literally like taking a step back in time. With just 1.2 persons per square mile ( you are truly in complete touch with the good Lord’s work. Tremendous mountains with snow capped tips, astonishing rolling green valleys as far as the eye can see, a plethora of the most startling plant life on the Earth, an astronomical wonder of breathtaking lights in the sky that indicate you are far away from human intervention… The rivers wind their way throughout the mystic grounds carrying large populations every summer of big, fat, healthy salmon who travel miles up river to spawn.

If this proposed plan, known as “Pebble Mine,” were to take affect, it would pollute Bristol Bay tremendously, one of the worlds, and Alaska’s, most productive wild salmon strongholds.

The Pebble Limited Partnership, consisted of Anglo American (whom recently backed out) and Northern Dynasty Co., discovered that The Pebble deposit, located in the headwaters of the Kvichak and Nushagak Rivers, holds massive amounts of gold, copper and molybdenum. The Kvichak and Nushagak Rivers are two of the eight major rivers that run into Bristol Bay. Their proposal is to construct a Pebble Mine complex on these rivers that would span twenty square miles in the Bristol Bay watershed.

The Pebble Mine would also demand the world’s largest earthen dam, 700 feet high and several miles in length, be built. This dam would hold back a 10-square-mile containment pond that carries from 2.5-10 billion tons of mine excess obtained over Pebble’s lifetime. The discharge of this mine waste into the groundwater or surface would deeply impact Bristol Bay and its salmon run.

I recently talked to a man by the name of Scott Hed who has worked his ass off for the past eight years to avoid this catastrophe. Scott, the director of the Sportsman’s Alliance for Alaska, made it very clear that he will not rest even after the US Environmental Protection Agency put major restrictions on the Pebble Mine Project regarding the Clean Water Act.

“We are at the ten yard line, the red zone, and that’s when the defense digs in. Fly-fishing has served as the vanguard for this campaign,” Scott stated.

So how can you help make sure The Pebble Mine Project is terminated once and for all?

Tell the EPA to Take Action to Protect Bristol Bay by September 19th: Take Action

Donate! Even if it’s a small amount!

Spread the word! Share this post!

Please take the time to protect Alaska. It will thank you on your future Alaskan fly-fishing trips as well as generations to come. I will leave you with this quote from Scott:

“This entire campaign will serve as a template for how really diverse groups can work together to accomplish tasks greatly against their favor.”

Carter Lyles
Gink & Gasoline
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6 thoughts on “The Land Before Time

    • That’s the true horror of all this….there is no “if”, it’s a matter of when it would fail. Every mine like this that’s ever been built anywhere has had an accident. Bristol Bay is a big sponge. All the rivers and creeks are connected above and below ground. Any spill will not be contained, and it’s poison.

  1. I live in B.C. and like many others was horrified at what happened. Bad enough that it happened here AND at the headwaters of one of the tribs. that hosts up to 1/4 of what is supposed to be a record Fraser sockeye run. You have a chance to stop this project. Don’t let it slip by.
    I was a university fisheries biologist who had to deal with Federal and Provincial governments. I retired early – clinically depressed in part because of the state of our fisheries, and very frustrated because I couldn’t do anything about things happening around me. Don’t let Alaska become another Canada.

  2. Did anyone else receive a response from their Senator saying they would fight the EPA on this?

    “The EPA recently announced it is initiating a rare action under the Clean Water Act which could lead to an agency denial of a discharge permit the mine’s owners would need to operate the facility. I have serious concerns with how the agency is proceeding in this manner and will work to ensure that they do not overstep their authority in way that will costs jobs and hurt the economy with no scientific evidence to support their decisions.”

  3. Unfortunately, the pebble deposit is money sitting in the ground. It is not going anywhere, it increases in value every day and unless we fundamentally change the way we function as a civilization those minerals will eventually be desperately needed. I fear we may win this battle possibly even the next one but we will eventually lose the war. Might not happen in our life time but I think it will eventually happen. I think our biggest hope is advancements in mineral extraction methodologies that will keeping reducing environmental impact of mining operations.

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