Sporting businesses urge no permit for Pebble project

Thousands tell Trump that the mine would jeopardize jobs, businesses, thriving outdoors

Outdoor businesses representing millions of sport anglers, hunters and outdoor enthusiasts are urging President Donald Trump directly to deny a key permit for the proposed Pebble mine, to safeguard thousands of American jobs and the fishing industry itself.

The letter from over 250 national outdoor sporting businesses and organizations, was delivered to the White House on Wednesday, May 20, by CEOs of The Orvis Company, American Fly Fishing Trade Association and Trout Unlimited.

Signers told Trump that the mine “would immediately jeopardize thousands of American jobs, hundreds of businesses, a sportfishing and hunting paradise, and thriving outdoor industries.”

The letter comes on the eve of the 2020 Bristol Bay fishery, where a run of nearly 49 million fish is forecast in 2020.

A similar letter signed by over 30,000 individual anglers and hunters also was sent to Trump.

The Canadian owned Pebble Limited Partnership in Anchorage meanwhile maintains that the mine would not have a measurable impact on millions of wild salmon returned annually to Bristol Bay. In a full-page ad in the Anchorage Daily News on May 17, the PLP said that the permitting process is working and would support new jobs for Alaskans.

The proposed copper, gold and molybdenum mineral deposit lies Southwest Alaska, adjacent to the watershed that is home to the world’s largest run of wild sockeye salmon.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is expected to release in the coming months its final environmental impact statement, a key document in the permitting process.

“Pebble mine would not only be bad for the environment, it would be bad for business,” signers of the letter said.

“We got involved because we saw a direct threat to Bristol Bay’s substantial outdoor economy and commercial fishery, which so many businesses and communities rely on for financial security,” said Simon Perkins chief operating officer of The Orvis Company. “Our customers travel from all over the world to the region to experience the unique landscape and to fish for wild, native salmon and trout, supporting a thriving tourism economy. Economically and environmentally, this mine is not worth the risk.”

“We’re not against mining, but this proposal and expedited review process are materially insufficient and threaten an American treasure and vibrant economy,” Perkins said.

“The president has the opportunity to make clear that he stands with rural America, a beloved swath of the Alaska great outdoors, and American jobs, by denying the permit for the Pebble mine,” said Chris Wood, chief executive officer of Trout Unlimited.

The Pebble Limited Partnership is one of several public mining firms owned by the diversified global mining firm Hunter Dickinson, a Canadian mining corporation based in Vancouver, British Columbia.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in June 2019 withdrew its opposition to the mine, allowing it to enter the National Environmental Policy Act permitting process.

The letter highlights both the value of the Bristol Bay region and issues that signers of the letter identify as problems with the massive mining proposal.

“Alaskans have made clear for more than a decade that this mine is not wanted,” said Brian Kraft, president of Katmai Service Providers and owner of two Bristol Bay fishing lodges. Kraft said that numerous state and federal agencies have noted flaws in the PLP’s proposal and review.

“It’s time to stand up for American jobs and our outdoor heritage not a mining company based in Canada,” Kraft said.