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Industry fears 'irreparable damage' to Bristol Bay salmon's reputation from fast-tracked Pebble Mine review

The BBRSDA is calling for a longer comment period for the mine, and raises concerns about USACE not being objective in its permitting process.

The US Army Corps of Engineers' (USACE) fast-tracked draft environmental impact statement on the impacts of Alaska's Pebble Mine will likely result in "irreparable damage to the consumer perception of Bristol Bay salmon," the Bristol Bay Regional Seafood Development Association (BBRSDA) said.

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"The lack of adequate time for public comment and the unresponsiveness of USACE’s final scoping report to address public comments is neglectful to the people who rely on salmon for survival and livelihood," BBRSDA Executive Director Andy Wink said Thursday in response to the Army Corps' plan.

c0f66f30b1d9d1cdb78430a102f1bbc9 Andy Wink, Executive Director, BBRSDA Photo: Bristol Bay RDA

The Army Corps is allowing a 90-day comment period to review the plan.

"The Pebble Limited Partnership claims the project will create 850 jobs during mine production, but these temporary, new jobs come at the risk of far more existing jobs that rely on sustainable salmon runs," Wink said.

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Wink said the report doesn't recognize "the virtual certainty of acid mine drainage or how contaminants would be hard to contain given the region’s porous hydrology, in addition to many other shortcomings.

"Even if large-scale mining and salmon can somehow coexist for eternity in Bristol Bay, there will likely be irreparable damage to the consumer perception of Bristol Bay salmon," Wink added. "Pristine habitat is a key selling point."

The BBRSDA has invested over $1 million (€883,000) in marketing Bristol Bay salmon, with promotions in over 1,000 US stores last year alone.

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