Bristol Bay--Halfway There
In a monumental win for conservationists and the environment, Wednesday, President Obama declared Bristol Bay off limits to oil and gas drilling indefinitely. Roughly the size of Florida, Bristol Bay is home to one of the worlds largest wild salmon runs, a multitude of endangered species, and 40% of the seafood supplied to the United States. The fly fishing community has long been one of the foremost champions of the area and advocating wholeheartedly for its protection. This is a huge first step, but we are only halfway there. While the new policy will do much to protect the area it has no effect on the proposed Pebble Mine. The proposed mine undoubtedly would yield vast troves of copper, gold, and other rare metals worth an estimated value of $300 billion, notably to corporations which aren't even from the United States or Alaska, but at what cost to the environment? Trout Unlimited and even several EPA reports warn of heavy metal contamination, seismic unrest, and heavy acidification and sedimentation of waterways. This area is truly a national treasure and already is an economic powerhouse, generating an environmentally sustainable $2.5 billon for the economy, what kind of country endangers that? Bristol Bay deserves protecting and while I applaud the President for his actions we are only halfway there.