Welcome to the latest installment of the Wednesday Wake-Up Call, a weekly roundup of the most pressing conservation issues important to anglers. Working with our friends at Trout Unlimited, Backcountry Hunters & Anglers, the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership, The Everglades Foundation, Captains for Clean Water, Bullsugar.org, and Conservation Hawks (among others), we’ll make sure you’ve got the information you need to understand the issues and form solid opinions.
If you know of an important issue–whether it’s national or local–that anglers should be paying attention to, comment below, and we’ll check it out!
1. TU Sues EPA Over the Decision to Withdraw the 2014 Proposed Determination
Today, Trout Unlimited and sportfishing businesses from Bristol Bay sued the Environmental Protection Agency over their decision to remove protections for the Bristol Bay region from threats posed by the Pebble mine proposal. The groups claim the EPA failed to consider science and potential impacts of developing the Pebble mine when it withdrew the Bristol Bay Proposed Determination.
The lawsuit follows an announcement by Bristol Bay Tribes and organizations yesterday filing a similar suit. The groups allege that the EPA broke the law when it ignored science and the potential impacts of developing the mine when it withdrew the Proposed Determination.
Nelli Williams, Alaska director for Trout Unlimited, explained, “Any action that jeopardizes this fishery and extremely unique place is unacceptable. The proposed Pebble mine is widely opposed by anglers and hunters across Alaska and the country. This lawsuit is a step to hold the EPA accountable to their own science and American sportsmen and women, not a foreign-owned mining company.”
2. Alaska Senator Murkowski Submits Report Language to Hold Pebble Accountable
After issuing a harsh warning to the Army Corps of Engineers at a Bristol Bay salmon event last week, Alaska Senator Lisa Murkowski followed up by introducing report language in to the Senate Appropriations committee yesterday morning that called on the Corps to make significant changes to Pebble’s Draft Environmental Impact Statement.
Her report language specifically directed the Army Corps of Engineers to address the concerns identified by other agencies like EPA and the Department of the Interior that called the DEIS “so inadequate that it precludes meaningful analysis.” The report language directs Army Corps to include more robust scientific analysis, and take comments from stakeholders, especially Alaska Natives, into account. On behalf of the committee, Senator Murkowski also requested that the Army Corps work with other agencies to address all the concerns they wrote in their comments given their expertise in areas that would be impacted by the proposed mine.
Other sources for Senator Murkowski’s recent opinions on Pebble:
- Committee led by Murkowski rebukes feds on Pebble Mine, says damage to fisheries is ‘unacceptable’
- Sen. Murkowski is right: The Army Corps needs to bring science back to Pebble permitting
- Murkowski gives Pebble a stern warning with submitted report language
3. Great Garden & Gun Story on the Fight to Save the Everglades
A long feature article by Monte Burke in the new issue of Garden & Gun focuses on the plight of the Everglades and the efforts to save the Rive of Grass from environmental collapse.
The Everglades are dying. On this matter, there is no debate. A century’s worth of dewatering, as well as pollution, dam and canal building, corporate welfare, and indifferent (at best) or bought-and-paid-for (at worst) politicians, has led to one of the greatest ecological tragedies in the country’s history, a fall from Eden that has serious ramifications for human and economic health. The question now for the Everglades—the matter still up for debate—is whether redemption remains possible.
This is important coverage of an issue we’ve been passionate about for a long time, and we hope it results in wider support for Everglades restoration.
4. Paiute Cutthroat Success in the Eastern Sierra
In 1967 the Paiute cutthroat was listed under the predecessor of the federal Endangered Species Act (the Endangered Species Preservation Act). Since then, it has been the focus of an intensive recovery effort. This decades-long campaign—strongly supported throughout by the Trout Unlimited North Bay (now Golden Gate) Chapter—recently celebrated a major milestone as genetically pure Paiute cutthroat were released back into the mainstem of Silver King Creek on September 18.