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JUNEAU, AK – Threats to Southeast Alaska’s salmon fishery by large-scale mine development in British Columbia will be explored next week in Anchorage at Alaska Forum on the Environment and a reception at the TapRoot Monday night, Feb. 8. The Salmon Beyond Borders campaign consisting of tribal members, fishermen, business owners and others from Southeast hope to increase awareness of the fast-moving issue among residents of Southcentral Alaska.
“This is an issue that will have a major impact on the future of Alaska’s fisheries, but residents in Anchorage have had very little opportunity to learn about it,” said Melanie Brown, commercial fisherman and Salmon Beyond Borders campaign member. “We are excited to show Southcentral Alaska a little more about our way of life in Southeast and why we are so concerned about large-scale mines upstream in British Columbia.”
Southeast is Alaska’s most productive seafood export region and is threatened by up to ten large-scale mines being developed across the border in British Columbia. The existing and proposed mines in these watersheds are likely to produce acid mine drainage and toxic heavy metals that could harm Southeast Alaska’s lucrative fishing and tourism industries, the traditional practices of Alaska Native tribes, and the way of life of Southeast Alaskans. These large-scale projects offer few, if any, economic benefits to the region.
“As an Alaska Native and as a fisherman, I am thrilled that the effort to protect our waters in Southeast is gaining momentum, but we still have a long way to go,” said Brown. “This is why I am looking forward to many conversations next week at the Alaska Forum and Taproot event.”
The public and members of the media are invited to the TapRoot Public House (3300 Spenard Rd) from 6:30 pm to 9:30 pm Monday Feb. 8 to celebrate the clean rivers, wild salmon and fish-based cultures of Southeast Alaska. Please email email@example.com for media passes or buy tickets online here.
Similarly, members of the media are invited to the panel discussion at Alaska Forum on the Environment titled, “Transboundary Mine Review: How Alaska works with the Canadian Mine Review Process.” The discussion will be Monday, Feb 8 from 2:00 – 4:45 pm at Anchorage’s Dena’ina Convention Center, 600 West Seventh Avenue. The session will include Tribal Leaders and a First Nation citizen who will speak on the cultural significance of the three Transboundary rivers of concern. High-level agency officials, including EPA Region 10 Administrator Dennis McClerran, will discuss solutions and ideas for collaboration on this issue with Canada.