With less than a week remaining in the public comment period on the Environmental Protection Agency’s proposed determination which would limit disposal of mine waste associated with the Pebble deposit in southwest Alaska’s famed Bristol Bay region, three of the most well-respected and –known figures in global big game hunting have announced their opposition to the Pebble Mine.
Scott Hed, director of the Sportsman’s Alliance for Alaska, emphasized the broad support for the conservation of the Bristol Bay region and the significance of the support from John Jackson, III, Shane Mahoney, and Craig Boddington , stating, “Hunters and anglers from across the country have joined forces and worked for years to defend one of the planet’s finest sporting destinations. To have such hunting luminaries as these three gentlemen come forward is testament to just how unique and remarkable this region is. This is far from the “tree-hugging environmentalists” that are too easy to typecast in these scenarios. Since the beginning, this campaign has had the support of consumptive user groups, whether it’s subsistence fishers and hunters, commercial fishing interests, or big game hunting guides.”
“Southwest Alaska has been well known as the best brown bear, moose and caribou combination area in the state for many decades” said John Jackson, III, chairman of Conservation Force and past president of Safari Club International. “ There’s no win-win possible in that scenario. Pebble Mine is in the wrong spot to co-exist with world class wilderness hunting. We must not let this happen.”
Renowned wildlife biologist and Safari Club International’s International Conservationist of the Year, Shane Mahoney added, “Alaska and the Pebble Mine pose a question of great consequence to the American people: will we keep great wild places that are exceptional beyond measure? There will inevitably be serious direct impacts on salmon and other resources. The Pebble Mine is an iconic confrontation of what we mean by progress and sustainable development. One does not have to be an extreme environmentalist to wonder about the wisdom of building this mine in this place; nor does one have to be a visionary to realize that this debate is truly about frontier, asking us all, hunters, fishermen, trappers, bankers, lawyers and businessmen alike, if we do not draw the line here, then when and where?”
“Throughout my career I have noticed that, for American sportsmen and -women, Alaska beckons more strongly than Africa, and nothing else comes close. I, too, have fallen under the spell of Alaska. I’ve journeyed there at least 20 times, primarily for hunting and a bit for fishing. Pebble Mine comes at too high a cost to the Alaskan wilderness we all revere. All Americans who hold Alaska’s wilderness have a stake in this, and it’s important for America’s hunters to stand up and be counted. There is no “win-win” here; Alaska’s wilderness and the wildlife she sustains must be the ultimate loser if Pebble Mine is built,” said Craig Boddington, noted global big game hunting authority and author of thousands of articles and books on hunting around the world.
“Protecting Bristol Bay has united the sporting community and to have such globally recognized heavyweights as Jackson, Mahoney, and Boddington lend their voices to our campaign is both an honor and testament to what we are fighting for,” Hed concluded. “Never before has such an overwhelming show of support rallied to the defense of a treasured place. Whether you’ve visited Bristol Bay in the past and can’t wait to return or you simply dream of fishing or hunting in the region someday, the protection of Bristol Bay will be a milestone in conservation history.”
The effort to protect Bristol Bay has seen one of the largest and most diverse mobilizations of the sporting community in history. A range of sporting conservation groups and trade associations including the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership, Dallas Safari Club, Wildlife Forever, American Fly Fishing Trade Association, Trout Unlimited, Pope & Young Club, Federation of Fly Fishers, Conservation Force, American Sportfishing Association, Delta Waterfowl Foundation and a veritable laundry list of the most recognizable brands in hunting and fishing products have expressed their support for EPA’s use of the Clean Water Act to protect Bristol Bay. This support stands firm in the face of recent attacks in Congress on EPA’s Clean Water Act authority.
Scott Hed – Sportsman’s Alliance for Alaska; (605) 351-1646 and Scott@SportsmansAlliance4AK.org
Logo courtesy Sportsman’s Alliance for Alaska