FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 29, 2017
CONTACT: Heather Hardcastle, Campaign Director, Salmon Beyond Borders, (907) 209-8486
Alaskans to Walker and Mallott: defend our wild salmon rivers now
JUNEAU, AK – Dozens of organizations, legislators, and concerned citizens have come together once again to call on Governor Walker and Lt. Governor Mallott to request, in writing, the federal government to pursue enforceable protections for the rivers of Southeast Alaska by Aug. 4. The unified request comes the day before the end of a comment period regarding the implementation of the non-binding Statement of Cooperation between the State of Alaska and British Columbia (B.C.), and weeks in advance of the third anniversary of B.C.’s Mount Polley mine tailings disaster.
A June 21, 2017 legislative letter, signed by Representative Dan Ortiz, Representative Louise Stutes, Senator Dennis Egan, Representative Jonathan Kreiss-Tomkins, Representative Justin Parish, and Representative Geran Tarr, states:
“We urge you to join with the nearly 10,000 individual Alaskans, numerous commercial and sport fishing groups, tourism businesses, Tribes, mayors, legislators, and our congressional delegation to make an explicit, written request of the U.S. federal government to develop and secure binding, enforceable measures to defend threatened U.S. interests in the Alaska-B.C. transboundary situation. We ask you to do this by August 4, 2017, in honor of the third anniversary of B.C.’s Mount Polley mine disaster.”
The statement from Heather Hardcastle of Salmon Beyond Borders is as follows:
“Alaskans again beg the State of Alaska to build on the non-binding Statement of Cooperation and specifically ask the U.S. federal government to secure enforceable protections and financial compensations for Alaskans. In their own letter to the Walker administration, Montana citizens who currently face an irreparably polluted transboundary river also strongly advise the State of Alaska to request binding protections from upstream B.C. mining activity. We can only hope the State of Alaska listens to our collective voices this time.”
The Statement of Cooperation comment period deadline comes as the state undergoes financial crisis, Alaskans cope with king salmon fishing closures on the Taku, Stikine, and Unuk Rivers, and new large-scale B.C. mines operate in the Stikine and Unuk watersheds. The Red Chris mine, owned by Imperial Metals as is the Mount Polley mine, opened in the Stikine watershed in Feb. 2015. The Brucejack mine, owned by Pretivm Resources, began pouring gold last week at its site roughly 20 miles from the U.S./Canada border in the Unuk watershed.
Salmon Beyond Borders is a campaign driven by sport and commercial fishermen, community leaders, tourism and recreation business owners and concerned citizens, in collaboration with Tribes and First Nations, united across the Alaska/British Columbia border to defend and sustain our transboundary rivers, jobs and way of life. Visit us online at salmonbeyondborders.org and find us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.