Oh, Pebble Mine. The nightmare that seems intent on recurring for all time, asking native Alaskans, commercial fishermen, recreational anglers, hunters, birders, hikers and lovers of wild places from all walks of life to forever present a front of resistance against the foreign mining company seeking to build one of the world's largest open pit mines at the headwaters of the Kvichak and Nushagak rivers in Bristol Bay, Alaska—home to the world's most productive salmon fishery and a $1.5 billion economic engine for the state of Alaska.
A few years back, Pebble seemed all but finished. After years of scientific examination, economic analysis, consultation with Alaskan communities and leaders and comments from hundreds of thousands of Americans asking the government stop the proposed mine dead in its tracks, the Obama administration decided to leverage the EPA's power under the Clean Water Act to permanently restrict mining in Bristol Bay.
However, along with Donald Trump's entrance to the White House came his appointment of now disgraced EPA director Scott Pruitt. Under Pruitt, Trump's EPA reversed course on the Obama administration's decision and indicated it would allow Pebble Partnership's parent company—foreign-owned Northern Dynasty Minerals—to submit permit applications and attempt to move the Pebble Mine forward.
And move forward it has. After a public comment period earlier this year, the Pebble Partnership now has a permit for Pebble Mine under review by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and critics claim the review process is being conducted on an "extremely rushed" timeline—and one much shorter that projects that are much smaller in scope than Pebble.
Indications are that Pebble Mine is currently on track to receive its first and most important federal permit as early as 2020.
But first, likely sometime this winter, the next and most critical public comment period of the federal permit review will take place. As part of this process, Americans will have the opportunity to weigh in yet again on Pebble Mine, this time on the USACE's evaluation of the environmental, ecological, economic and social impacts of Pebble Mine—its DEIS (Draft Environmental Impact Statement).
As with prior comment periods, education and outreach to inform Americans about the comment period, the DEIS, the implications for Bristol Bay and Alaska and the importance of their involvement will be crucial. And sportsmen's and conservation groups are gearing up for the fight.
To help with this effort, Nautilus Reels has partnered with the S. Kent Rockwell Foundation to help raise money for The Sportsmen's Alliance for Alaska—which has been working for over a decade to engage sportsmen and women on Pebble Mine and other conservation-related issues facing the state of Alaska.
Starting on September 24, 25 individually numbered "No Pebble Mine" Limited Edition Nautilus XM reels will be available for purchase. Through a donation by the S. Kent Rockwell Foundation, for every $375 reel sold, $500 will be donated to the Sportsman’s Alliance for Alaska to help fund the group's continuing efforts to protect Bristol Bay from the Pebble Mine.
“We’ve got the No Pebble Mine flag proudly flying in our machine shop,” Nautilus Reel's owner Kristen Mustad said. “When this opportunity came up to raise some money to support the fight, it was a total no-brainer — and the matching funds component just puts it over the top. We’re thrilled to partner with the S. Kent Rockwell Foundation and Sportsman’s Alliance for Alaska, and we’re not backing down until Bristol Bay’s future is secured.”
Orders of these limited edition reels must be placed directly with Nautilus by calling (305) 625-3437.