Sportsmen from around the country are traveling to the nation’s capitol April 16-18 to let their elected officials, federal administrators and President Obama know that protecting Bristol Bay is a top priority for sportsmen. Among them will be Nanci Morris Lyon from Alaska Sportsman’s Bear Trail Lodge, who led Team Bear Trail in the 2011 Recycled Fish 24 Hour Fish-A-Thon. Team Bear Trail won the fundraising portion of last year’s event.

“We were happy to raise awareness and funds to fight for Bristol Bay through the 24 Hour Fish-A-Thon” said Lyon. “The support we got shows how committed anglers are to a healthy Bristol Bay, and how strongly they oppose Pebble Mine. Now we’re excited to take this message to Washington.”

Lyon is optimistic that the message will be heard, and that regulators will respond by extending protections for Bristol Bay. Her hope is that the administration will act to prevent further development of Pebble Mine and other large-scale mining operations that would threaten the sensitive Bristol Bay ecosystem. If built, Pebble Mine would produce up to 10 billion tons of toxic waste that will have to be treated for hundreds of years. This waste will threaten Bristol Bay’s $600 million commercial and sport fishery and 12,000 fishing jobs.

“In just a few weeks, the EPA will be releasing a draft of its Bristol Bay Watershed Assessment,” said Scott Hed, Director of Sportsman’s Alliance for Alaska. “This scientific assessment will guide future decisions about large-scale mining and other industrial development in the Bristol Bay region. If the EPA finds that disposal of waste from the mine would adversely harm the surrounding clean waters or natural resources, the EPA can deny or place restrictions on a required dredge and fill permit. If warranted, we hope the Obama Administration would take that step to protect Bristol Bay.”

Joining Lyon are leaders in the sporting community from Montana, Michigan, Colorado, New Mexico, Pennsylvania, Nevada, Texas, Wisconsin, Washington, Oregon, Ohio, North Carolina, California, Missouri, New York, and Virginia who want Bristol Bay to be protected.

To support the team headed to Washington, concerned sportsmen can send a letter to President Obama, members of Congress and EPA administrators by filling out a form at www.SaveBristolBay.org and clicking on “Take Action.”

Scott Hed encourages, “Let’s carry our sportsmen into D.C. with a lot of momentum.”

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