Bristol Bay is a rare, pristine fishery, the largest source of wild salmon in the world, but a new story published by FERN in collaboration with The Nation says it faces a dual threat – from a rapidly changing climate and a massive, Trump-backed mine.
The story, by Alaskan journalist Julia O’Malley, tracks fisherman Anna Hoover, going out for a day’s catch of salmon. “For her generation of fishermen, investing here is more of a gamble than ever. Twin threats hang over this place where many of America’s salmon dinners come from: a rapidly warming climate, which has already scrambled the pattern of the seasons across vast swaths of Alaska, and Pebble Mine, a proposed open pit mine at the bay’s headwaters, which has been given new life by Donald Trump’s administration,” O’Malley writes.
“Many who live and fish here, including Hoover, worry that once the mine is built, pollution is inevitable and that together these two forces could destroy this rare, pristine ecosystem, threatening salmon, communities, and whole ways of life,” the story says.
As with many once-stalled extraction projects in Alaska, O’Malley writes that Pebble Mine is moving forward again. In late July the EPA’s leadership formally reversed the agency’s 2014 position that had stalled the project, “reportedly after Alaska Governor Mike Dunleavy, a Trump ally and mine supporter, met with the president on Air Force One,” she writes. The partnership now developing the mine has been pushing to get as far as it can through the federal permitting process before the next presidential election.