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BRISTOL BAY, ALASKA – More than a thousand Bristol Bay residents, several thousand Alaskans, and  more than 125,000 Americans are calling on the Biden Administration to enact permanent protections  for the Bristol Bay watershed. 

On the anniversary of President Barack Obama’s visit to Bristol Bay, United Tribes of Bristol Bay  submitted approximately 3,500 comments to the Environmental Protection Agency, asking they use  Clean Water Act authority to permanently protect the region from mines like Pebble. Those letters come  after about 125,000 letters were sent by supporters in the state and nation so far this year, adding to  the 2.1 million comments submitted to EPA since Bristol Bay Tribes first petitioned the agency for Clean  Water Act protections in 2010. 

Alaska-based groups including Commercial Fishermen for Bristol Bay, Defend Bristol Bay and Stop  Pebble Mine submitted thousands of comment letters this year, as did many national entities including  Natural Resources Defense Council, Earthworks, Friends of the Earth, and others. 

“The people of Bristol Bay are very clear: we want the Environmental Protection Agency to take action  to protect our watershed,” said UTBB Executive Director Alannah Hurley. “Six years after President  Obama stood on our beaches and recognized our region as a national treasure that needed  protections, one year after Biden’s campaign promise to finish that work, and almost twenty years of  facing this threat, we are still waiting for action. We appreciate the support of so many around the  nation who stand with us to call on the EPA to uphold their responsibility and permanently protect  Bristol Bay.” 

President Obama visited Bristol Bay on Sept. 2, 2015, calling it “critical” to “protect this incredible  natural resource.” But the effort to provide EPA protections was halted by politics under the Trump  Administration, and the Biden Administration has yet to take action to resume and finalize protections  for the region.  

“We can’t wait any longer. Bristol Bay needs certainty that our salmon fishery and the economy and  way of life it supports will continue to support generations to come. It’s time for the EPA to finalize  protections for our watershed,” said Commercial Fisherman for Bristol Bay Executive Director Katherine  Carscallen.

For images from President Obama’s 2015 visit to Bristol Bay, and Bristol Bay residents calling on EPA  for permanent protections in 2021, see this dropbox folder

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Bristol Bay Native Association represents 31 Bristol Bay Tribes & is the regional nonprofit tribal  consortium providing social, economic, and educational opportunities to tribal members. 

Bristol Bay Economic Development Corporation represents 17 CDQ communities & exists to  promote economic growth and opportunities for Bristol Bay residents through sustainable use of the  Bering Sea fisheries. 

Commercial Fishermen for Bristol Bay is a national coalition of fishermen working to protect Bristol  Bay, Alaska. 

United Tribes of Bristol Bay is a tribal consortium representing 15 Bristol Bay tribal governments (that  represent over 80 percent of the region’s total population) working to protect the Yup’ik, Dena’ina, and  Alutiiq way of life in Bristol Bay. 

Earthworks is a nonprofit organization dedicated to protecting communities and environment from  irresponsible mining.

Alannah Hurley, UTBB, (907) 843-1633 or ahurley@utbb.org 

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