Social media lit up yesterday upon the announcement from the White House that president Obama had signed a Presidential Memorandum protecting the waters of Bristol bay from oil and gas exploration. This is great news, but it’s important to remember that this ruling does not affect the proposed Pebble Mine. I asked Trout Unlimited’s Scott Hed for some words on what this means for anglers fighting to protect the headwaters of the bay:
In his announcement protecting Bristol Bay’s Outer Continental Shelf from oil and gas drilling, President Obama touched on many of the same points that those who have worked to protect Bristol Bay from the Pebble Mine have used for years. The President acknowledged the uniqueness of Bristol Bay, and the tremendous economic benefits it creates for Alaskans and many in the lower 48. Though Tuesday’s announcement is welcome news for Bristol Bay, it does not affect the fight to stop the Pebble Mine. The EPA must still issue final and permanent protections to prevent North America’s largest open pit mine from being built at the headwaters of one of the world’s premier sport-fishing destinations. With a final Clean Water Act 404(c) determination in Bristol Bay, the EPA has the power to make President Obama’s pledge to protect Bristol Bay both complete and lasting.
So, while this is great news and perhaps shows that the winds are blowing in the right direction, the movement to stop Pebble Mind must continue to press for the EPA to take a stand in favor of Mother Nature.