On Indigenous Peoples’ Day we honor and celebrate the culture and resilience of Native peoples throughout the United States. NRDC is proud to partner with United Tribes of Bristol Bay—a Tribal consortium comprising 15 Bristol Bay tribal governments, representing over 80 percent of the region’s total population, working to protect the Yup’ik, Dena’ina, and Alutiiq way of life in Bristol Bay.
The most immediate threat is the Pebble Mine—a giant gold and copper mine proposed at the headwaters of Bristol Bay’s legendary salmon runs. Bristol Bay salmon have sustained the Yup’ik, Dena’ina, and Alutiiq way of life for more than 4,000 years, and are the lifeblood of the Tribes’ language, culture, spirituality, and community.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is currently considering whether to veto the mine and protect Bristol Bay using its authority under Section 404(c) of the Clean Water Act.
Watch this powerful video narrated by United Tribes of Bristol Bay Executive Director Alannah Hurley, urging EPA to end the threat of the Pebble Mine:
For thousands of years our people have thrived in Bristol Bay.
But for decades, young and old have been forced to defend it.
To stand against the Pebble Mine to protect our sacred way of life.
For 20 years, our communities have stood united and refused to back down.
All to reach this very moment.
When we can finally free future generations from the burdens of our fight.
The recorded salmon runs have never been larger.
The chorus of Alaskans has never been louder.
And the EPA is so close to ending this nightmare.
This is our window to save the world’s greatest salmon runs.
To return power and peace to our communities.
And to protect our home.
This extraordinary place of sacred beauty and abundance.
Time is running out for Bristol Bay.
Now is the moment to end the threat and veto Pebble Mine.
Under Section 404(c) of the Clean Water Act, EPA has the authority to veto the Pebble Mine and permanently protect Bristol Bay. Last month, the agency concluded a public comment period on its revised 404(c) proposal that would, if finalized, provide long-term protection for waters that are essential to subsistence fishing and Indigenous communities. EPA said that it would take the next step in the 404(c) process—including potentially issuing a recommended determination—by December 2022.
We join United Tribes of Bristol Bay in urging EPA to “listen to the voices of the people of Bristol Bay and finalize protections this year that stop Pebble Mine for good.”
EPA must end the threat and veto Pebble Mine now.