To the editor:
It can be hard to keep track of what happens in Washington, D.C., but last week the House Science, Space and Technology Oversight Subcommittee held a hearing of particular importance to Northwest commercial fishermen and wild salmon lovers all over the nation.
The subject of the hearing was the Bristol Bay, Alaska commercial salmon fishery and the potential development of the what would be the largest open-pit mine in the North American continent, the proposed copper and gold “Pebble Mine.”
Open-pit mining operations are responsible for countless environmental disasters across the globe, and have proven incompatible with almost every ecosystem where they operate.
Bristol Bay, Alaska may be a couple thousand miles north of us, but it’s salmon — the largest wild salmon run on the planet — has significant economic impacts right here in the Pacific Northwest. I started a company in 1983 that processed and sold Bristol Bay sockeye around the world; over the years my family and many of our friends and acquaintances have spent summers working in Bristol Bay. My three sons and many other current and former Bainbridge Island residents earn their living in Bristol Bay.
It is important to give credit where credit is due, and so on behalf of my family, and other Island residents who make or have made their living in Bristol Bay, I would like to thank Congressman Derek Kilmer for standing up to the international mining companies Anglo American and Northern Dynasty, and vocally supporting salmon fishermen and Alaska’s pristine salmon spawning habitat. Congressman Kilmer was one of a few elected Representatives who showed up to the hearing to defend the rights of Native Alaskans, commercial fishermen, and the many other groups who oppose trading a sustainable wild salmon resource for a short-sighted development project that would leave Bristol Bay polluted for generations.
Founder, Snopac Products Inc.