BRISTOL BAY BALLOT INITIATIVE

By Page on August 23, 2008 at 3:55 pm

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photo by Ben Knight

Earlier this year, I interviewed Travis Rummel of Felt Soul Media about their latest film Red Gold. Red Gold documents the struggle to defend Bristol Bay Alaska, one of the most valued river drainages in Alaska and home to one of the world’s largest sockeye salmon populations, from the development of Pebble Mine. If developed, Pebble Mine will be one of the largest gold and copper metal mines in North America. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the hard-rock mining industry is the single largest source of toxic releases in the US, and this industry has already caused enormous damage to rivers and fisheries around the world. The proposed Pebble Mine may pose the greatest single threat facing Alaska’s salmon-bearing rivers and the people who depend on them. To learn more about the issues and Red Gold please visit the earlier post.

This past Tuesday I attended a screening of Red Gold at Tiffany and Co., where Tiffany Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Michael Kowalski urged others in the jewelry industry to join Tiffany’s pledge never to source any gold from Pebble Mine, should it open. Four additional jewelers have joined the Pebble Mine campaign, including Fortunoff, Ben Bridge Jeweler, Helzberg Diamonds, and Leber Jeweler.

Though environmental consequences of the proposed Pebble Mine would be a federal issue, the state of Alaska decides whether mining companies actually win the rights to develop the mine. In Alaska, residents are scheduled to vote August 26th on a ballot initiative that would place tighter restrictions on open-pit mining projects like the Pebble proposal.

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photo by Ben Knight

If you feel strongly that the Pebble Mine should not be developed, tell Gov. Sarah Palin (AK) and the BLM that protecting the Bristol Bay watershed is important to you and the State.