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Trade urges Trump Administration to deny Pebble Mine proposal

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More than 250 outdoor sporting businesses and organisations have signed a petition urging the Trump Administration to veto a permit for mining in Bristol Bay, Alaska.

More than 250 US outdoor sporting businesses and organisations have urged President Donald Trump to safeguard American jobs and the recreational fishing industry by denying a key permit for the proposed Pebble Mine at Bristol Bay in Alaska.

The letter comes as the US Army Corps of Engineers is poised to release its final Environmental Impact Statement in the coming months, a key document in the permitting process for the large gold and copper mining proposal.   

The letter was delivered by CEOs of The Orvis Company, the American Fly Fishing Trade Association (AFFTA) and Trout Unlimited. “If built, the mine would immediately jeopardise thousands of American jobs, hundreds of businesses, a sportfishing and hunting paradise and thriving outdoor industries,” the letter reads. 

“Bristol Bay represents a big part of what makes America great – one of the best hunting and fishing regions left in our country that supports thousands of jobs. Trading these plentiful natural resources for a massive foreign-owned gold mine would be a colossal mistake,” said Simon Perkins, Chief Operations Officer of The Orvis Company.  

“The President has the opportunity to make clear that he stands with rural America, a beloved swathe of the Alaskan great outdoors and American jobs by denying the permit for the Pebble Mine. All we have to do to protect the best salmon and trout fisheries in the world is to have the good sense to simply leave it alone,” said Chris Wood, Chief Executive Officer of Trout Unlimited.  

The rivers downstream of the proposed Pebble Mine and its infrastructure are some of the most sought-after fishing and hunting destinations in the world. The Bristol Bay fishing and tourism industries together account for more than 14,000 full-time and part-time jobs and generate $1.5 billion annually for the local economy. 

The letter highlights both the value of the Bristol Bay region as well as problems with the massive mining proposal. The decision for the important federal permit for the proposed mine is expected by mid-2020. 

“Alaskans have made clear for more than a decade that this mine is not wanted. Numerous state and federal agencies have pointed out flaws in the proposal and review. It’s time to stand up for American jobs and our outdoor heritage, not a mining company based in Canada,” said Brian Kraft, President of the Katmai Service Providers and owner of two fishing lodges in the Bristol Bay area.  

A similar letter, signed by more than 30,000 individual anglers and hunters, was also sent.   

“It’s not just Alaskans who have this on their radars. Sportsmen and women across the country care deeply about this issue because Bristol Bay is incredible by just about every standard you can measure it by. When tens of thousands of people stepped up in just three days’ span to voice their concerns to the President, I wasn’t surprised. Opposition to this mine in this place runs deep,” said Ben Bulis, President and CEO of AFTA, which represents fly fishing businesses throughout the country.  

“We’re not against mining, but this proposal and this review process threaten an American treasure,” said Perkins. “It’s clear at this point that the issues with the mine plan aren’t going to be resolved adequately and the only responsible decision is to not issue a permit.”

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