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August 22, 2008

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Stop the Pebble Mine



Unless you've been living under a rock I assume that you've heard about this ridiculously greedy and shortsighted plan of a mine that's close to becoming a reality in Alaska. It's bad news... Really bad news. Check out more information about the proposed mine and it's potential effects on Bristol Bay region here.

The fly fishing trade organization AFFTA and the fly fishing industry as a whole are adamantly opposed to the development of The Pebble Mine in Bristol Bay, Alaska. Oh, and we here at Fly Talk find this proposed mine to be a big middle finger to sportsman the world over, and more importantly the multiple species of fish and animals that would be in very serious jeopardy.

All Alaska residents need to help stop this potential environmental boondoggle next week by voting YES on Ballot Measure #4. If you are not a resident of Alaska but you know someone who is, urge him or her to vote YES on Ballot Measure #4 on August 26. Please, do it now! Pick up the phone or shoot an email to all your friends in Alaska.

Basically this ballot measure puts stricter standards in place for NEW mines in relation to water quality. If you'd like more info please visit this site (http://www.alaskacleanwater.org/).

We the people don't have the millions of dollars to drop on BS propaganda that these mining companies do. We only have our voice and our vote. Help the people of Alaska vote with their conscience and get the word out.




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No doubt people who fly up to Alaska twice a decade to fly fish should decide the future of mining up there. I guess we should only buy raw materials from foreign countries- one's that don't fish. It's no wonder China is eating our lunch.

tim romano


Fishing is my business, not Gold. So yeah, i think it's a stupid idea.

It's not just about Fly Fishing. Sport and commercial interests are aligned in this fight. This mine would be placed in the headwaters of the LAST great pacific Salmon spawning area on earth. Sport fishing and commercial salmon fishing are BIG business in Alaska and guess what? They're renewable!

Yes, we (being a multinational mining corp) might reap great amounts of money and raw materials from this mine for 80 to 100 years. Then what? You can't bring back a ecosystem and economy devastated by open pit mining. Pretty short sighted if you ask me...

Chad Love

I don't know a soul in Alaska, but it's a place I've dreamed about fishing all my life.
I sure hope that by the time I and other anglers like me have saved enough money to make the trip there's actually something still there to see.
Alaska is and will continue to be a state placed under enormous pressure by the resource-extraction industry, and that is one industry with big, big pockets.
And let's face it, most Americans - even most anglers - don't have a really well-defined sense of what the big deal is. Alaska is way up there, it's cold, and only rich guys can afford to travel there, anyway.
It's the same argument proponents of ANWR drilling are using. It's a frozen place no one cares about.
The trick is to figure out how to make people care about it. And to make people care about something (say, a region) you first have to impart a sense of pride and ownership in that region, the old Woody Guthrie (God bless his red-dirt Okie soul) notion of "This land is your land."
And to do that you have to tell that region's story, honestly and vividly, and then (through words and pictures) draw the connection between that place and your target audience, even if your target audience lives a couple thousand miles away.
Tim, you're probably familiar with Joel Sartore. He's one of my absolute favorite photographers because that's the approach he takes. I first met him when he was down here in Oklahoma doing work on the lesser prairie chicken and I got to know him because at the time I was doing a lot of writing (and some shooting)on prairie chickens.
He's done some fantastic work on ANWR. Ultimately it may be a futile gesture, especially in regard to drilling, but if nothing else his work will help act as a chronicle of what we've lost.

Bristol Bay may very well be doomed, but at the very least (if the measure doesn't pass) I think it deserves a beautiful requim for those of us who may never get to experience it.


Andrew, if you look into the issue a bit deeper, you'll realize that it's a Canadian company, mining American soil, to extract gold and copper, the majority of which will be sold to the CHINESE. Who is spoon-feeding whom "lunch" in that paradigm?


Flytalk 8.22.2008
Sorry but Andrew appears to be the only person that has a clue what he's talking about. Pebble is a long long way from being anything but exploration. We are a resource development state. It is in our constitution and what funds pays for roads, schools and every other government function here in Alaska. This Ballot Measure 4 is the brainchild of a rich Anchorage businessman, Bob Gillam, who has a 10,000 s.f. cabin 30 miles from Pebble. He personally contributed over $500,000 to keep his playground private. He also formed the Renewable Resources Coalition which received $1.6 million from a shady money bundling operation out of Virginia, Americans for Job Security, that won't reveal where they got this money. But golly guess what? Art Hackney is the mouthpiece for the Gillam formed ‘Renewable Resources Coalition’ and is the treasurer for Americans for Job Security. Gillam is also an investor in the company, Anglo American, who is doing the exploration, so he can funnel more of his bucks into AJS, then Hackney just writes himself a check, to the tune of over $240,000. AJS is normally a pro-business, anti-regulation group that fought for things like chopping off the tops of mountains back east to get at the coal; fought against removing dams from the Snake River. That’s how much they give a damn [pardon the pun] about salmon. Oh, and one last thing: Alaska is a breathtakingly beautiful land that all Alaskans treasure. We intend to keep it that way.


Sorry 411, but I think the point is that nobody really knows what they are talking about, because a project this size, in an area as environmentally sensitive as this, has never been done before. And you can intend all you want, but one major goof could kill the richest salmon resource in the world.


Which is why we in Alaska have the most stringent regulatory process in the world. There are many many permits that would be required and each would be examined closely not only by the State of Alaska but by the people of Alaska. And of course Outside environmental groups. I’m sure there are people who sincerely believe that this poorly written ballot measure truly is about clean water, and I respect that. Who doesn’t want clean water? But the fact is, this ballot measure truly could shut down mining in Alaska and that would be a disaster. We are talking over 3500 good paying, steady mining jobs, almost all in rural areas where job opportunities are desperately needed. Without some economic opportunities, the future out there is grim. Further, most people who really understand the issue know the ballot measure leaves enough open to interpretation that it will be tied up in courts for years. So the advertising folks have made a fortune, next the lawyers will make a fortune. The perhaps unintended consequences of this poorly written ballot measure could have a devastating impact on Alaska’s economy.

Roy Tanami

Right on TR and KD. The political smokeshow that always arises around issues like this where tons of money are involved is mind boggling. There is a long list of environmental catastrophes wrought in the name of jobs and in places where "stringent" regulations were in place.

Point is, to risk an ecosystem as rich as Bristol Bay for any fixed life mine is incredibly short sighted - period. There are just some places in the world where the juice just aint worth the squeeze - whether you fish or not. And admittedly, while I have't read the ballot measure, but I'd be suprised if any ballot measure could "shut down mining in Alaska."

Currently in northern British Columbia, we have a very similar situation brewing. Royal Dutch Shell has plans to extract coal bed methane in the highly sensitive headwaters of three of BC's largest and most important salmon and steelhead bearing rivers - the Skeena, Nass, and Stikine. I just completed an 8 day float through this remote and sensitive region to begin to document just some of what's at stake - and its significant. And, incidentally, if you're a steelheader, it means risking almost every famous northern BC steelhead stream you've ever heard of, as they are all tributaries of these three rivers.

Similar to the Pebble situation, the proposed coal bed methane project in BC will be the first such project attempted in salmon bearing watersheds. CBM extraction involves huge amounts of tainted, saline water - so what better place to try the first one but at sensitive headwaters of three of BC's largest and most significant salmon and steelhead rivers? Hello?

Sure, we need gold, gas, and jobs. But at what cost? In environments as important and as sensitive as Bristol Bay and the Sacred Headwaters region of BC the potential losses far outweigh the gains.

Yeah, a part of this has to do with fishing, and obviously, for many of us on this blog, that's our entry into these issues. But as I'm sure we can all realize, the Pebble Mine and CBM in BC threaten more than just fly fishing.

I'm with you TR - I'd encourage everyone to adopt the longer term view. There's too much at stake not to - which has little to do with "China eating our lunch." The economies of AK and BC are not likely to crumble without Pebble or Coal Bed Methane. And for those of you who might be interested in real threats to the major salmon and steelhead rivers of northern BC, please go check out the Skeena Watershed Conservation Coalition site at:Skeenawatershed.com.

jerry k

I am a Sophmore from denver who is writing a research paper on the pebble mine. I would like to know if you could refer me to some web sites that could give me some more info on the pebble mine. thank you

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