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Northwest Voices

Seattle Times letters to the editor

June 5, 2013 at 6:03 AM

Bristol Bay construction

Bay is sustainable, creates jobs

I appreciate that The Seattle Times recognizes the incredible economic contributions and jobs of the Bristol Bay salmon fishery and how much that means to Washington state [“Editorial: Protect Bristol Bay,” Opinion, June 2]. The Times calls it right when it says Bristol Bay’s American jobs and sustainable natural environment deserve protection now.

A recent study of the Bristol Bay salmon economy by a university researcher found that the industry is worth $1.5 billion a year and supports more than 3,200 jobs in our state. Hundreds of businesses here take part in the Bristol Bay salmon industry and those dollars flow into our communities.

All of this is sustainable and will continue into the future versus the temporary jobs of the proposed Pebble Mine, estimated at just 1,000 jobs. Plus, Pebble will destroy salmon streams and wetlands, even without a catastrophic breach of the nine linear miles of earthen dams needed to hold back 10 billion tons of toxic mine waste, forever. I don’t know of any company or government that can plan or engineer into perpetuity.

If we don’t stop this now, it’s likely that we, the taxpayers, will be on the hook for the inevitable cleanup.

David Harsila, president, Alaska Independent Fishermen’s Marketing Association, Seattle

Mine would hurt fishing industry

I appreciate The Seattle Times’ editorial in favor of protecting Bristol Bay from the severe risks of the Pebble Mine.

Sport fishermen and outdoor enthusiasts deeply cherish Bristol Bay and its incomparable fish habitat. Besides trophy rainbow trout, dolly varden, arctic char and chinook salmon, Bristol Bay is home to the largest sockeye run in the world, averaging 37.5 million fish annually.

It makes no sense that we would allow two foreign corporations to dig an enormous mine in the heart of this sustainable watershed, destroying up to 90 miles of salmon streams and 4,800 acres of wetlands.

And that’s the best case scenario, without a disaster involving up to 10 billion tons of mine waste that must be stored “in perpetuity” behind earthen dams in a sensitive, seismic area.

I sincerely hope the Obama administration is paying attention to this important issue. It’s time to protect Bristol Bay before it’s too late.

Travis Campbell, CEO, Far Bank Enterprises, Bainbridge Island

Comments | Topics: Alaska, Bristol Bay, fishing

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The opinions expressed in reader comments are those of the author only, and do not reflect the opinions of The Seattle Times.


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