June 4, 2014 Newsletter
Welcome to the latest edition of the SAA News. I hope you’ve had a great spring and it hopefully involved some fine fishing and/or turkey hunting. I’m headed to Alaska today for some work meetings, but I’ll try to get some fishing (ahem, “field research”) done as well. Herein, you’ll find some updates on issues across Alaska. Unsurprisingly, there’s been some pushback from the Pebble Limited Partnership to EPA’s work in Bristol Bay. The U.S. Forest Service is moving ahead with an amendment to the land management plan for America’s largest national forest – the Tongass in Southeast Alaska. Let’s hit the details…
Bristol Bay: Pebble Officially Responds to EPA’s Clean Water Act Process, then Sues the Agency, Seeking to Stop Work that could Protect Bristol Bay
A few months back, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency began a process under the Clean Water Act that could lead to Bristol Bay being protected from the proposed Pebble Mine. As part of this process the project’s proponents responded to EPA’s action in a few ways:
- Taking things a step further, on May 22 with its back seemingly against the wall, PLP sued the EPA, seeking to halt the agency’s work that could prevent the proposed Pebble Mine under Section 404c of the Clean Water Act. Coverage of story also in the Anchorage Daily News. And for anyone unsure of where the State of Alaska’s political leadership stands on this matter, the State joined the lawsuit against EPA on May 30.
- Response to the lawsuit filed by the Pebble Limited Partnership against the EPA was swift and critical from: the Bristol Bay Regional Seafood Development Association, Trout Unlimited Alaska, and United Tribes of Bristol Bay.
Bristol Bay: Senator Murkowski Catches Flak for Sponsoring S.B. 2156
Last month, we covered the introduction of S.B. 2156 (aka the “Regulatory Fairness Act”) which would revoke EPA’s ability to utilize a rarely-invoked section of the Clean Water Act to proactively address threats to Bristol Bay’s clean water and wild fish. Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) is a sponsor of this legislation, and she’s gotten quite a bit of feedback for taking this position that is at odds with the majority of Alaskans who wish to see Bristol Bay protected.
- A longtime Alaska commercial fisherman wrote an opinion editorial in the Anchorage Daily News critical of the Senator’s decision take on the EPA’s ability to protect Bristol Bay through use of the Clean Water Act.
- The Kenai Peninsula Clarion reports that a group of nearly 20 Bristol Bay fishing lodge operators has sent a letter and run a full-page ad in the Anchorage Daily News criticizing Senator Murkowski’s support of S.B. 2156 which would hamper EPA’s ability to use the Clean Water Act to protect Bristol Bay.
- Finally, Senator Murkowski received a lot of in-person feedback at a number of meetings she held while visiting Bristol Bay during the week of May 26. Hear a recap of a meeting held in Dillingham on KDLG radio's Bristol Bay Fishing Report (at 7:45 mark) that was attended by over 200 people.
Bristol Bay: Advance Alert – Be Ready to Stand Up One Last Time!
Should the EPA Clean Water Act process move ahead this summer, there is expected to be a public comment period – likely the final one – and we will need every single one of our allies to weigh in and recruit your friends, family, colleagues, and even complete strangers if you’re the outgoing type to join our effort to protect one of the planet’s premier wild fishery resources. Stand by; you’ll be alerted when the time comes to take action. Until then, thanks for your perseverance.
Forests: Tongass Land Management Plan Amendment in the Works
The U.S. Forest Service is currently in the process of amending the Tongass Land Management Plan. Read an analysis of public outreach and comments on the 5-year review of the 2008 TLMP. There will be a 90-day public comment period on the draft Environmental Impact Statement for the TLMP amendment set to begin by August 2015. The Tongass is attempting to transition to a young growth management regime as provided by the USDA Secretary’s memorandum addressing sustainable forestry in Southeast Alaska.
To help guide the USFS in this plan revision, fifteen regional stakeholders have been named to a federal advisory council that will begin meeting this summer. More coverage of this development from KTOO.
Miscellany: Other Interesting News & Notes around Alaska
Other Ways to Support SAA and the Fight for Fishing and Hunting in Alaska
SAA is grateful for the generous support of individuals, businesses, and foundations. Your donations allow SAA to continue to work on efforts to protect prime fishing and hunting habitats in the Last Frontier for the benefit of current and future sportsmen and women. Make your donations online at the secure online donation page; all amounts are accepted and appreciated – SAA is a lean, mean, one-man operation but it takes funding to do this work. For donations of the following amounts, please include “SAA” and indicate what item you’d like to receive in the “comment” box on the donation page.
BONUS: All donations of $50 or more will receive a copy of Equilibrium on DVD by Castaway Films!
- $25 Waypoints DVD from Confluence Films ($30 value)
- $125 4-in-1 Alaska or Fab Four - Alaskan September giclee print by Derek DeYoung (13” x 19”) ($120 value)
- $150 Abel "No Pebble Mine" nippers with lanyard ($125 value)
Note: Abel will produce a run based on how many we need, so time lag involved.
$25 – DVD
$150 – Abel Nippers
$125 - “Fab Four – Alaskan September” by Derek DeYoung
(If you have any questions on how to donate, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.)
Do You Shop on Amazon.com? Help Alaska Conservation – Easy and Free!!!
SAA’s parent organization – the Alaska Conservation Foundation – is now an official recipient organization of Amazon Donations. It’s super easy to make a donation and doesn’t cost you a thing! Rather than shop via Amazon’s regular website, do your Amazon shopping on http://smile.amazon.com/ and Amazon will automatically donate 0.5% of your total purchases to ACF. Once you indicate “Alaska Conservation Foundation” as the charity you are supporting, do your shopping as usual and make your purchases as you normally do. You are not charged anything extra. You do not need to change your account settings. The only thing that changes is that you will do your shopping on AmazonSmile which contains the same exact information and products as Amazon's regular website. We suggest you bookmark AmazonSmile to make it even easier to return to the website. Your support is greatly appreciated!
You’ve Asked for It: Return of the SAA Online Auction – Coming this Fall…
It’s been a few years, but SAA previously ran a very successful fundraising auction hosted by eBay. Great news – the auction is coming back.
Stay tuned for more news and get ready to bid on awesome gear, exciting trips, and unique artwork.
Looking like this will happen in October and November…just in time for Christmas shopping!
(At right, Mike Fifer – president of Sturm, Ruger & Co. – autographing a limited edition print for the SAA auction.)
Thanks for caring about Alaska conservation. Your support and actions will ensure a future for Alaska’s fish and game and for coming generations of sportsmen and women to enjoy them.
Director – Sportsman’s Alliance for Alaska