Southwest Alaska fishermen, tribes and businesses are voicing concern over a new application to mine in the Bristol Bay watershed, this time for exploration along Kaskanak Creek, southwest of the proposed Pebble prospect.
The Alaska Department of Natural Resources (DNR) issued a public notice of an application from Stuy Mines, LLC.
The Stuy Mines project at Kaskanak is one of 200 projects in exploration in the area of the Bristol Bay watershed. The DNR notice was made public just weeks after action from the Environmental Protection Agency put in serious doubt the prospects for the Pebble Partnership, a subsidiary of a Canadian mining entity based in Vancouver, British Columbia, to develop the Pebble prospect for copper gold and molybdenum.
The EPA’s action came under section 404 (c) of the Clean Water Act, over concern of the impact of potential adverse consequences from discharges from that mining venture.
Tim Bristol, executive director of SalmonState described the Stuy Mines proposal as being “out of touch with what Alaskans, and most importantly the people of Bristol Bay, want for the future of this irreplaceable watershed.”
“The Bristol Bay watershed is home to one of the last intact salmon ecosystems in the world; it’s more important than ever that our leaders champion watershed-wide, permanent protections for this special place before it’s too late,” said Bristol.
“It is extremely disappointing to see efforts to continue mineral exploration in the Bristol Bay watershed, just a month after the EPA ended the threat of Pebble Mine using their Clean Water Act authority,” said Katherine Carscallen, Director of Commercial Fishermen for Bristol Bay. “The majority of Alaskans support permanently protecting the Bristol Bay watershed from all threats of mining. It is clear that we cannot stop until these pristine waters, which support tens of thousands of jobs, a $2.2 billion annual commercial fishery, and feeds people from coast to coast, are permanently protected through an act of Congress.”
Alannah Hurley, executive director of United Tribes of Bristol Bay, said the EPA’s action to stop the Pebble mine was a step in the right direction: “Recognizing that the science and the public are staunchly on the side of protecting our home. These ongoing threats highlight exactly why this fight isn’t over and we need our leaders in Congress to take action to establish permanent protections for the entire Bristol Bay watershed.”