February 19, 2015 Newsletter
Welcome to the latest edition of the SAA News. I hope you had a terrific holiday season and that your 2015 is off to a good start. I just wrapped up two days at the Fly Fishing Show in Lynnwood, Wash., and it was an eye-opener for me. While the fly fishing community is pretty informed on the Bristol Bay / Pebble Mine campaign, right now there is a very large and serious misconception that we’ve won the battle. I had to inform people that while Pebble may seemingly be on life support, the project is not dead and there remains work to do to ensure Bristol Bay can be protected under the Clean Water Act. After all, if we stop Pebble, we also likely head off the other 1,000 square miles of mining claims that currently exist in the region.
Below you’ll find some highlights on Bristol Bay, Tongass National Forest, Susitna Dam, and Transboundary issues. You can always check the Latest News page for a comprehensive collection of updates on issues of interest to anglers and hunters and the Last Frontier. You’ll also find some great offers from SAA supporters Fishpond USA and Vedavoo that will help SAA’s ongoing work.
Finally…teaser alert: The SAA online fundraising auction is probably going to begin in March. Look for great gear from some of the finest makers and probably some trips as well. Stand by!
Bristol Bay: Process Delayed by Lawsuit and Threatened by Legislation in Congress
As reported in the December edition of the SAA news, in late November a federal judge issued a temporary injunction that has put EPA’s continuation of the Clean Water Act process on hold. No news to report and the next action will be the judge’s ruling on a motion to dismiss Pebble’s suit sometime in the next 2-3 months perhaps.
Unfortunately, while the EPA is delayed, we need to play defense in the new Congress. S 234 has already been introduced in the Senate, and it would alter the section of the Clean Water Act that EPA is employing in Bristol Bay – taking the very tool away from EPA that could see Bristol Bay protected. The bill was criticized by Trout Unlimited Alaska, the Bristol Bay Regional Seafood Development Association, and the United Tribes of Bristol Bay. Please urge your Senators to not support S 234 or any other legislation that would prevent EPA from using the Clean Water Act to protect Bristol Bay. You can find you Senators’ contact information at Senate.gov.
President Obama Protects Bristol Bay – Offshore (Pebble still a threat)
In late December, President Obama removed the North Aleutian Basin (aka offshore Bristol Bay waters) from federal waters that are open to oil and gas exploration and development. Watch the President talk about this action in this short YouTube video from the White House. Note however, that this does not impact the proposed Pebble Mine, which remains a huge threat.
- In an editorial, the Los Angeles Times applauded President Obama’s decision to protect Bristol Bay from offshore oil and gas exploration and development – but said the job will not be finished until the rivers that feed the Bay are protected from the proposed Pebble Mine.
- Bristol Bay: A Legacy Story details the decades-long battle that ended with President Obama’s action in late 2014.
Other Bristol Bay News
- SAA’s Scott Hed wrote a 2014 Bristol Bay recap for Angling Trade magazine. The Huffington Post ran something similar from the perspective of an attorney involved in the fight.
- KDLG radio ran an interview with Pebble Limited Partnership CEO Tom Collier.
- The Alaska Supreme Court ruled in favor of the legality of the Bristol Bay Forever Initiative, which modifies the 1972 Bristol Bay Fisheries Reserve to add mining to a list of activities that must receive approval from the Alaska Legislature. The initiative passed in November’s election, receiving a majority of the vote in every election district in the state.
- Another mine project adjacent to Pebble is raising concern. Stories on the proposed Groundhog mine ran in E & E News, the Alaska Journal of Commerce, and Alaska Native News.
Trans-Boundary Mine Threats in Southeast Alaska
British Columbia's ambition of opening new mines in the province's north has raised fears in neighboring Alaska where conservation, commercial fishing, and Native groups say the unchecked development threatens their salmon and tourism industries.
- A new report on last year’s tailings dam failure at the Mt. Polley mine released by the provincial government of British Columbia has done nothing to reduce the fears of Southeast Alaskans over the development of other large mines in the Transboundary region, according to the Globe & Mail and Alaska Native News.
- Watch the new 6-minute film XBoundary on Salmon Without Borders and then sign the petition to Secretary of State Kerry asking the State Department to stand up for Alaskan waters and salmon.
Susitna Dam – Doesn’t Pencil Out and De-Funded by New Governor
Fisherman's News Online covered a new report commissioned by Trout Unlimited’s Alaska program called Dreams, Risks and Realities which concludes that the proposed Susitna Dam is an enormous waste of Alaska’s money. Shortly after the report’s release, Alaska’s new governor removed funding for the proposed monstrous project from his budget, per this Trout Unlimited blog post.
Miscellany: Other Stuff Around Alaska
- SAA’s Scott Hed and a friend from Dallas Safari Club had their Bristol Bay photos featured in the online magazine Flymage.
- In the debut of a coming series, lodge operator Pat Vermillion is featured as a Bristol Bay Ambassador.
- Renowned sporting author E. Donnall Thomas writes about the various “Monsters of Southwest Alaska” in Sporting Classics magazine. Think big rainbow trout, the fabled Lake Iliamna monster, and of course brown bears.
- Lend your support for conserving the most productive salmon and trout habitat in Southeast Alaska’s Tongass National Forest by checking out America's Salmon Forest and the Tongass 77 initiative.
Alaska Video Vault
- With the expansion of drone usage, it was only a matter of time before someone released some great footage of Alaskan angling on the Alagnak River.
- Here’s a short video featuring the search for steelhead on the Situk River in Southeast Alaska.
- Make sure to hit the Fly Fishing Film Tour when it comes to your area. One of the films featured is the Lost Boys of Yantarni which showcases silver salmon fishing on the remote coast of the Alaska Peninsula.
Fishpond and Vedavoo Promotions Raise Funds for SAA
SAA is fortunate to count many businesses in the sporting product industries as allies. Right now, two companies are running promotions to help raise much-needed funds for SAA to continue working to engage anglers and hunters in the campaigns to protect public lands in Alaska.
At Fishpond, we have a passion for creating products that stretch the boundaries of traditional product design and set new standards for functionality. With our roots firmly planted in our core fishing market, we have expanded our portfolio of products to include several new items targeting the outdoor adventure travel and lifestyle segments.
We’re proud to offer two products that will benefit the SAA.
For every Boulder Briefcase sale, Fishpond will donate $60 to SAA.
*** When you purchase online from Fishpond, just select the product option that includes “Donation to SAA” and Fishpond will take care of the rest. It costs nothing extra to you.
BETTER AMERICAN GEAR
Our work is hand-cut, prepped, built, and finished to order in our workshop. We use American fabrics, hardware, and webbing - even the thread we use is USA made! Why - because it lasts, and because it matters. We're looking forward to building for you! And customize with the No Pebble Mine logo to benefit the SAA…
As long as the battle continues...we’ll keep making streamside billboards!
For a minimum of $10, you can have the iconic No Pebble Mine patch added to any Vedavoo gear. 100% of your Donation for this patch will be sent to the SPORTSMAN'S ALLIANCE FOR ALASKA – supporting their front-line efforts to protect the Bristol Bay watershed.
The patch can be sewn on any of our hand-built gear – but looks great on our Tightlines Sling, TL Beast Sling, Spinner Daypack, Daypack, Drifter, Hip Pack, and Leader Wallets.
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 $25 or more will receive a copy of Waypoints on DVD by Confluence Films!
- $15 No Pebble Mine trucker hat or No Pebble Mine red sockeye design t-shirt ($30 value and only 25 in stock) or Aquafly box ($20 value)
- $30 BEST Deal…Get all three $15 items (hat, t-shirt, fly box) – specify t-shirt size!
- $125 4-in-1 Alaska or Fab Four - Alaskan September giclee print by Derek DeYoung (13” x 19”) ($120 value)
$125 - “Fab Four – Alaskan September” by Derek DeYoung
(If you have any questions on how to donate, e-mail email@example.com.)
Do You Shop Online? Doesn’t Nearly Everyone These Days?
Two Ways to 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!
Amazon will automatically donate 0.5% of your total purchases to ACF.
Sign up for a free iGive.com account!
Your favorite cause (SAA!) will earn $5. It’s free and easy.
There is no obligation to make any purchases, but you can shop at over 900 online merchants and a percentage of the sale will be donated to SAA.
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