August 11, 2020
By Fly Fisherman Staff
Donald Trump Jr. and Joe Biden both agree, Bristol Bay is no place for a mine. After the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers released its Final Environmental Impact Statement for the Pebble Mine in July, public outcry over the mine reached all all-time high. The Canadian-owned mine at the headwaters of the Nushagak and Kvichak rivers in Bristol Bay, Alaska, threatens the world’s largest sockeye salmon fishery, with more than 40 million fish returning to spawn so far in 2020.
“As a sportsman who has spent plenty of time in the area I agree 100%. The headwaters of Bristol Bay and the surrounding fishery are too unique and fragile to take any chances with," Trump Jr. wrote in a tweet Aug. 4.
Presidential candidate Joe Biden agreed with him: "“It is no place for a mine,” Biden wrote in a press release. “The Obama-Biden Administration reached that conclusion when we ran a rigorous, science-based process in 2014, and it is still true today.”
The Environmental Protection Agency under the Obama administration proposed halting the project in 2014, but the same agency under Trump gave the project a green light.
After his son's tweet, the president promised to take another look at the mine.
“I would certainly listen to both sides. My son has some very strong opinions and my son is very much of an environmentalist,” Trump told reporters at a press briefing.
“I will look at both sides of it."
The fly-fishing industry has widely condemned the proposed mine, with companies from Simms to Orvis and Nautilus reels speaking out against the project.
Bristol Bay’s sockeye salmon economy provides 14,000 commercial fishing jobs and a $1.5 billion economy that stretches from fly-fishing guides and lodges to grocery stores and restaurants in New York City.
“The science is clear: this mine is indefensible,” said Guido Rahr, CEO of Wild Salmon Center. “It cannot be safely built without harming the fishery in Bristol Bay. And a catastrophic tailings dam failure would release toxic waste that would affect the long-term productivity of salmon fisheries. It’s just too big a risk to take. And it’s time for the EPA to step in and stop this mine.”