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DILLINGHAM, AK – Tuesday, more than 1,400 comments were delivered to the Alaska Department of Natural Resources asking for strong state protections for Bristol Bay after the agency’s inspections showed that more reclamation work is needed at some of the sites where the Pebble Limited Partnership has conducted its exploration.
“Alaskans have been clear: this project is not welcome in Bristol Bay. We are asking the State not to allow further degradation to our land, water, and all it sustains,” said UTBB Board President Robert Heyano. “The record number of Alaskans weighing in on a state permit shows unity around the state for these protections. Here in Bristol Bay, we are thankful for every Alaskan who stands with us as we demand clean water and land for future generations.”
The Pebble Limited Partnership had applied for new State of Alaska permits to keep using land at the headwaters of Bristol Bay’s major salmon-producing rivers, and drill new holes as part of an extensive exploration program meant to aid them in the permitting process. More than 1,400 comments were submitted to the Alaska Department of Natural Resources asking for strong protections for Bristol Bay during the comment period that ended Feb. 20 on the company’s Miscellaneous Land Use Permit (MLUP).
Last year, the state put serious conditions on the company’s efforts. That was a first in the project’s history, and came after more than a thousand Alaskans asked the State to hold the company accountable for the exploration mess it had already made in Bristol Bay. Alaskans who weighed in during the most recent comment period are hopeful that the state will again respond favorably, and act to protect this special place.
This past fall, inspections by Alaska’s Department of Natural Resources noted problems that required additional work at some of Pebble’s more than 1,300 boreholes and showed that Pebble continues to ignore state requirements and the will of the people, emphasizing the clear need for protections.
The United Tribes of Bristol Bay (UTBB) is a tribal consortium representing 15 Bristol Bay tribal governments (that represent 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.