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September 18, 2013 at 4:24 PM
Good news for environment, fishermen
As someone involved in the Bristol Bay commercial fishing industry for three decades, both as a fisherman and an owner of a supporting business, I was pleased to read that mining giant Anglo American (US) Pebble has decided to cut all financial ties to the proposed Pebble Mine project. [“Costly hit to Alaska mining project,” Business, Sept. 17.]
Anglo American’s decision was preceded by the public release of drafts of a study by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) that determined the proposed mine could destroy miles of salmon streams and as much as 4,800 acres of wetlands.
Although Anglo American’s pullout is a major blow to Pebble Mine proponents, the fight to protect Bristol Bay’s magnificent watershed isn’t over. The Pebble Limited Partnership will still apply for permits and seek new investors.
Meanwhile, Native American groups, fishermen, conservationists and business groups are petitioning the EPA for permanent protection of the watershed and the commercial fishery it supports — a $1.5 billion industry that provides more than 3,200 jobs in Washington state alone.
With Anglo American’s departure, it’s clear that at least one big mining company recognizes both science and common sense. Now it’s time for the EPA to follow suit, finalize the Bristol Bay Watershed Assessment and protect Bristol Bay forever.
Jeff Osborn, Seattle
July 31, 2013 at 6:53 AM
Commission should ban octopus fishing in Puget Sound
This Friday, the state Fish and Wildlife Commission will be adopting rules regarding catching and killing of giant Pacific octopus here in the Puget Sound.
Giant Pacific octopuses are the largest in the world, and are some of the most intelligent sea creatures we know.
The current rule allows people with a fishing license to catch one octopus per day, year round.
If the commission (partnering with the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife) eliminates recreational fishing for giant Pacific octopus, it would not adversely affect anyone, because few people fish for them. It could generate thousands of dollars from out-of-state scuba divers coming to the Puget Sound to encounter one of these glamorous megafauna.
Some sportfishers object to closing the octopus season for philosophical reasons — they want no decrease in fishing opportunity. I hope the commission takes the larger view, and recognizes that designating Puget Sound as a giant Pacific octopus sanctuary is in the best interest of Washington’s economy.
David Jennings, Olympia
July 12, 2013 at 5:56 AM
Commercial waterfront jobs are necessary
The Seattle Times was right to call out City Hall on the loss of our commercial shipping business. [“Editorial: Pay attention to the port, industrial sector,” Opinion, July 10.]
What did we expect? After forever putting off long-promised and much-needed additional freight access in Sodo, the city of Seattle fell all over itself to grubstake a glitzy sports arena that would make freight mobility even worse. Customers go where they feel wanted, and the vibe from City Hall to the container trade is a collective cold shoulder.
Now, property owners along north Lake Union and Salmon Bay, where the commercial fishing industry is located, are angling to change the zoning to high-density residential. If granted, they can cash out to property developers, and retire to Hawaii.
Do we really need more high-rent condos and fewer paying jobs on that part of the lake?
None of the candidates have addressed the issue, but it is important to ask them: “Does your vision for the future include working docks, truck traffic and commercial waterfront paychecks as well as high-tech condos and bike lanes?”
Douglas Pratt, Seattle
June 6, 2013 at 6:02 AM
Your editorial about Bristol Bay and the Pebble copper mine was biased and naive [“Editorial: Protect Bristol Bay,” Opinion, June 2].
The environment absolutely needs protection, but people need jobs, too. You completely ignored a study that shows Pebble could create 16,000 high-paying jobs across the country, and because the supplies would mostly be shipped through Seattle, many jobs would be created right here.
You also ignored the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), which guarantees the federal government won’t decide for many years whether the project should be built. Between now and then, the developers have to apply for permits and prove to regulators that the project won’t hurt the salmon runs and commercial fishing industry of Southwestern Alaska. No proof, no permits, no mine.
Your editorial also left out the way environmental groups are lobbying the Environmental Protection Agency to ignore the lawful process and issue a “pre-emptive veto” before Pebble submits a permit application. Why are they afraid of the NEPA process? If the project is really as scary as the activists claim, it has zero chance of getting through NEPA review and lawsuits from environmental groups.
Kelsey Arias, Seattle
June 5, 2013 at 6:03 AM
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
March 1, 2013 at 7:01 AM
Coal trains will be inconvenience
“ ‘Green’ strategists now back coal trains” [page one, Feb. 26] reveals that a great deal of money is being spent by proponents of coal-unit trains and terminals in Western Washington. This is discouraging and irritating.
Since the proposal was introduced, we have heard a lot about environmental effects, health and safety effects and temporary employment effects. We likely will be hearing a lot more.
The terrible and essentially perpetual adverse effects of the proposal on the public convenience and the quality of life of millions of people who live here are seldom mentioned. Anyone who has waited at a railroad crossing on the Seattle waterfront for the seemingly interminable passing of a unit train moving at a snail’s pace will know what I mean. It actually is being proposed that we all be subjected to this dozens of times a day. This is lunacy.
The coal-unit trains and terminals proposal is a selfish and inherently bad idea. It should be disposed of with all deliberate speed.
–Lee Voorhees, Mercer Island
Coal trains will disrupt environment, job market
Anyone who argues that the jobs argument trumps global warming had better learn how to subtract. The coal-train proposal would disrupt commerce daily throughout the Pacific Northwest, driving away marine-dependent employment from the harbors. Sodo would be gridlocked as commuters wait on 20 miles of coal trains. The Ballard railroad trestle would daily be down for hours, bottling up ships in Lake Union and Salmon Bay.
Exporting 150 million tons of coal puts the long-term future of my industry, North Pacific fishing, at risk. The Port of Seattle estimates 15,000 fishing-related jobs in the Seattle area alone. Increasing acidification in the oceans caused by the burning of carbon-based fuel is already causing damage to the state’s shellfish industry and will, if unchecked, threaten the marine web on which my salmon fishery depends.
Why trade sustainable livelihoods for a few jobs based on a one-time extraction of a nonrenewable resource?
–Pete Knutson, co-owner Loki Fish Company, Seattle
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