FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 19, 2019
House of Representatives Vote to Block Funding for Pebble Mine.
Representative Don Young wants to “Look at the Science.”
Homer, AK – Today, the House of Representatives passed amendment 90, “The Huffman Amendment” to the Energy and Water Appropriations Act (H.R. 2740) bill to suspend funding for permitting the proposed Pebble Mine in 2020, elevating growing public concerns for a flawed and incomplete permitting process.
Cook Inletkeeper Executive Director, Carly Wier, applauds the decision:
“Alaska’s Bristol Bay is a global treasure, holding the world’s largest wild sockeye salmon fishery that sustains our local communities and economies in the region. The Army Corps of Engineers should be embarrassed by the sloppy analysis we were given in their EIS. We deserve better, and we are grateful to Congress for hearing our voices when our own delegation seems to be ignoring us. We hope that Lisa Murkowski can do the right thing and stand with Tribes, commercial fisherman, scientists and citizens of Alaska to protect Bristol Bay. The whole world is watching.”
During a House Session yesterday, Rep. Don Young admonished his colleagues, demanding that they “let the process go through”, and finished by saying, “Let’s look at the science.”
Sue Mauger, Science Director at Cook Inletkeeper responds:
“Rep. Young, I’ve looked at the science. As a stream ecologist, who has studied Cook Inlet and Bristol Bay salmon streams and water temperature regimes for 19 years, I have looked closely at how the draft EIS addresses impacts to Bristol Bay salmon through changes to water temperature. This is what I found: Impacts to fish from altered temperature regimes are notably minimized in the draft EIS, even though water temperature is arguably THE driving factor contributing to fish metabolism and growth. The downstream impact from water temperature changes influencing juvenile salmon growth, timing of emergence, and food availability all have implications for salmon survival in both freshwater and in the ocean. With only a superficial look at summer and winter temperatures – and none for the shoulder seasons, no effort to link the impacts across life history stages, no consideration of local adaptation to thermal conditions, unsupported assumptions about thermal effects on the aquatic invertebrates that make up a salmon’s diet, this document is incomplete and reflects a lack of regard for the very real concerns Alaskan have about this proposed project on Bristol Bay salmon resources. The fact that this basic water quality parameter was not thoroughly explored in this document greatly concerns me.”
Alaskans across the state continue to demonstrate opposition to the Pebble Mine with recent public testimony overwhelmingly opposed. The public comment period for the Army Corps DEIS continues until July 1.
Cook Inletkeeper is a community-based nonprofit organization that combines advocacy, education and science toward its mission to protect Alaska’s Cook Inlet watershed and the life it sustains. Inletkeeper’s monitoring and science work builds credibility with scientists and resource managers, its education and advocacy efforts enhance stewardship and citizen participation, and together, these efforts translate into Inletkeeper’s ability to effectively ensure a vibrant and healthy Cook Inlet watershed.
Brandon Hill, Cook Inletkeeper, 907-235-4068 x33