FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Representative Peltola applauds permanent Clean Water Act protection of Bristol Bay
January 31, 2023
Washington, D.C.—Representative Peltola joined the United Tribes of Bristol Bay, Bristol Bay Native Corporation, Bristol Bay Native Association, and hundreds of other organizations and businesses in celebrating the decision by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to issue a Clean Water Act Section 404C Final Determination to protect the Bristol Bay region. This decision would prevent development of the proposed Pebble Mine at the headwaters of the world’s most productive sockeye salmon fishery.
“Rebuilding our salmon runs and protecting our fish was the number one reason I decided to run for Congress,” Representative Peltola said. “Today, the EPA listened to Alaskans and helped us do just that. Protecting Bristol Bay, and the world’s largest sockeye salmon fishery, has been a bipartisan effort from the very beginning. After decades of regulatory uncertainty, I hope that this ruling gives the people who live and work in Bristol Bay the stability and peace of mind they deserve and the confidence that this incredible salmon run will no longer be threatened. I also understand that some Alaskans might be disappointed by this decision. To all of you, know that I am committed to our state’s development and to helping local communities build robust economies with good-paying jobs.”
The 404C process is a specialized administrative procedure designed to protect unique and critical watersheds. It authorizes EPA to prohibit, restrict, or deny the discharge of dredged or fill material at defined sites in waters of the United States (including wetlands) whenever it determines, after notice and opportunity for public hearing, that use of such sites for disposal would have an unacceptable adverse impact on one or more of various resources, including fisheries, wildlife, municipal water supplies, or recreational areas. This process was initiated at the request of leaders from across the Bristol Bay region and follows years of thorough scientific studies on the impacts of the proposed Pebble Mine.
"Today is a historical moment in time and we would like to thank the EPA for finalizing the Clean Water Act protections that will safeguard our lands, water and culture,” said Bristol Bay Native Association President & CEO Garvin Federenko. “The people of Bristol Bay have always been stewards of our lands and natural resources with traditional ecological knowledge passed on from generation to generation since time immemorial. Today is a day for celebration with gratitude to EPA, as well as the people of Bristol Bay for being engaged in the process to have our voices heard, and thank you to everyone who has supported our region over the past two decades.”