During the Obama administration, the EPA put in place protection plans for Bristol Bay watershed located in the southern part of Alaska. The protection of the watershed is very important to the people of Alaska as it holds an insane population of sockeye salmon along with an abundant amount of diversity in other animals as well. Bristol Bay is known as the world’s most valuable salmon fishery. Early last fall, Scott Pruitt, who is the administrator for the Environmental Protection Agency, met with the CEO of a mining company for the planning of a gold and copper mine to be assembled on the watershed’s land. Directly after the meeting, Scott held a conference to convince the board to take off the protection rights on the watershed for a more profitable organization in mining.
The meeting that Scott Pruitt held to take off the protection rights of the watershed raised a lot of attention to conservationist and to the people of Alaska in general. After many years of testing, the Environmental Protection Agency concluded that building such a mine would clear out certain fish and other wildlife populations all together. The testing also stated that the changes in biodiversity and loss in habitat will be irreversible. After the test results had made it to mainstream news, more that 40 democrats wrote out to the EPA on how deeply concerning this issue is and how to address the situation. The governor of Alaska has also publicly spoken out against the decision to convert to mining. After the community expressed their concern for the situation, Scott Pruitt stated to the people of Alaska, “It is my judgment at this time that any mining project in the region likely pose a risk to the abundant natural resources that exist there.” The plans to take off the protection of the watershed currently remains on hold after this statement from Pruitt was released.
I fully believe that the author wrote this particular article to inform the public of the current situation going on about the Bristol Bay watershed. The watershed project needs to be heard so that people from all over can express their opinion that is not necessarily connected to the get rich scheme of the mining project. I personally feel that this article tied directly into the section from class when we spoke about environmental justice. The watershed needs the voice of the people for protection against degradation for people with an anthropogenic mindset. The watershed itself serves as a provisioning and cultural services to the community of Alaska by providing one of the wealthiest fisheries as well as providing a fresh water source to the southern part of the state. To conclude, I think that the people of Alaska and all parts of the world should speak out on the developing of mining to protect this wonderful natural resource.
Griffin, D., & Bronstein, S. (2018, January 29). The EPA made a surprise move that could protect the world’s largest salmon fishery. Retrieved February 04, 2018, from https://www.cnn.com/2018/01/27/politics/epa-alaska-salmon-fishery/index.html