Posted on May 22, 2013
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The Bristol Bay Forever Initiative
In 1972, the people of Alaska made a strong statement about what the Bristol Bay Fisheries mean to us and to our economy.
Back then, our elected representatives in the State Legislature, led by then-State Senator Jay Hammond, got together and created the Bristol Bay Fisheries Reserve.
That generation’s goal was to protect the fisheries and the Alaska families, who depend on them, by inserting one additional step for oil and gas companies seeking permits to drill in the region. We require scientific proof, signed off on by the people we elect to office that the proposed activities won’t endanger the salmon and the economy built around them.
It’s been a great success. The fisheries have been protected and industry has clear rules that they can count on.
This year, the Bristol Bay Forever Initiative, which will appear on your November 2014 election ballot, seeks to extend that same, successful approach to mining.
The reasons are simple and practical.
The fisheries are incredibly valuable to us. Thirty-one million salmon spawn in the area, yielding one-third of the world’s Sockeye Salmon supply, each year. 10,000 jobs are directly tied to Bristol Bay. Sport fishing alone yields $300 million per year. Overall, the fisheries are valued at roughly $1.5 billion, and generate between $318 and $573 million per year in economic impact. A mine, like a well, by contrast has a limited lifespan, only 50-years for the proposed Pebble Mine.
Together, we can make sure that we protect this valuable asset for our state and its people, while providing a path for mining projects to proceed when they make sense and take into account the interests of their neighbors, who’ve been there for generations. Acting wisely today will protect Alaska’s future.
Where Is The Bristol Bay Reserve?
The Bristol Bay Fisheries Reserve is an area of about 36,000 square miles, located in the southeastern portion of Alaska. The maps included here give you more detail on this part of our state that we’re attempting to protect through the Bristol Bay Forever Initiative. The Reserve, which has existed for over forty years, is the only one of its type in the state.
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The Numbers Don’t Lie