EPA’s “Recommended Determination” follows extensive public support for durable protections for Bristol Bay and a record-breaking fishing season
(Dillingham, Alaska) — Thursday, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued its Recommended Determination regarding the Pebble deposit for Bristol Bay. This marks the next step in the process for EPA to stop Pebble Mine by enacting 404(c) Clean Water Act protections for the region.
The release of the Recommended Determination brings EPA closer than ever before to enacting durable, long-lasting protections for Bristol Bay through the 404(c) process. The next step in this process is for the agency to formalize protections in a “Final Determination” before they are enacted.
Earlier this summer, the EPA published a revised Proposed Determination, launching a comment period to provide the public an opportunity to weigh in on their proposed protections. More than half a million people—including 31,000 Alaskans and 2,500 Bristol Bay residents—spoke out to once again resoundingly reject Pebble Mine.
“We are encouraged to see the Environmental Protection Agency take this important step to advance protections for Bristol Bay after our fishermen and half a million Amercians weighed in on the Proposed Determination since May,” said Andy Wink, Executive Director of the Bristol Bay Seafood Development Association. “Our fishermen will be reviewing EPA’s Recommended Determination and hope to see durable protections finalized to ensure the world’s greatest wild salmon resource is finally protected.”
Clean Water Act protections were first requested by Bristol Bay’s Tribes in 2010, and commercial fishermen have worked in unison to seek permanent and durable protections for the habitat which sustains Bristol Bay’s irreplaceable and record breaking fishery.
“This summer’s record-breaking salmon return was thanks in large part to Bristol Bay’s pristine waters and healthy habitat,” said Katherine Carscallen, Director of Commercial Fishermen for Bristol Bay. “Our fishermen were able to deliver 60 million wild sockeye to the market– something that isn’t happening anywhere else in the world. EPA’s release of their Recommended Determination today is an important step towards finalizing urgently needed protections for the region by the end of the year. We all know what is at stake, it’s time for the EPA to finish the job.”