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What an honor and a privilege it was to join our friends and colleagues today at the White House Rose Garden to celebrate the Biden administration’s conservation achievements, featuring protections for Alaska’s Bristol Bay from the proposed Pebble Mine.  

President Biden and Alannah Hurley, Executive Director of United Tribes for Bristol Bay, address the crowd. Photo courtesy of WhiteHouse.gov.

The president spoke with passion about Bristol Bay and the renowned salmon fishery that it supports. 

“Bristol Bay is an extraordinary place, unlike anywhere in the world,” he said. “Six rivers meet there, traveling through 40,000 miles of tundra, wetlands and lakes, collecting freshwater and salmon along the way from some of the most pristine land on the entire planet. That freshwater empties into Bristol Bay, where every year tens of millions of salmon return,  making this the largest sockeye salmon fishery on all the Earth.”

To resounding cheers, President Biden spoke of the administration’s decision, based on extensive scientific study, to use its authority under the Clean Water Act to prohibit the disposal of mine waste from the proposed Pebble Mine in the Bristol Bay watershed.

Earthworks staffers Bonnie Gestring and Lauren Pagel arriving at the Rose Garden.

“As the years went by, engineers and scientists worked on the problem.  And it became clear that there was no way to do this safely… That means the mine will not be built.”

Alannah Hurley, Executive Director of United Tribes for Bristol Bay, shared the podium with the president.

“Our people stood up and fought back to protect what we hold sacred,” she said. “President Biden heard our voices. He and his team listened to Bristol Bay and our many partners across the nation. And together, we stopped the Pebble Mine.” 

After highlighting the coordinated efforts of “tribal leaders, commercial fishermen, hunters, anglers, and environmental advocates” in “the fight of [their] lifetime,” the president expressed gratitude to those who played a role in this amazing accomplishment.  

“To everyone who had a role in saving Bristol Bay, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you.”

Earthworks is honored and elated to share in this tremendous victory, led by the Alaska Native Tribes and commercial fishermen, and supported by a diverse coalition.  

Earthworks staff and representatives from United Tribes of Bristol Bay.

Although Northern Dynasty, the Canadian-based mining company behind Pebble, has promised to challenge the Clean Water Act decision in court, we are confident that the Clean Water Act “veto” will be upheld.  We also support the region’s efforts to secure permanent protection for Bristol Bay from Congress. 

In the meantime, thank you President Biden for this important accomplishment!