Jaime Herrera Beutler urged the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on Wednesday to consider the livelihoods of Southwest Washington residents when finalizing their Bristol Bay Watershed Assessment. In a letter sent to Acting Administrator Bob Perciasepe, Jaime points out concerns raised by the fishing community in her region who may be impacted by a proposed pebble mine in Bristol Bay. The EPA is currently accepting public comment on its revised draft of the project.
In the letter, Jaime points out that last year, residents of her district held 91 commercial fishing permits for Bristol Bay. The bay is home to large sockeye, coho, chum, and king salmon runs that support both commercial and recreational fishing.
The text of the letter follows:
Bob Perciasepe, Acting Administrator
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
Ariel Rios Building
1200 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20460
Dear Acting Administrator Perciasepe,
It is my understanding that your agency has released a revised assessment of the Bristol Bay watershed. On behalf of residents and small business owners in Southwest Washington, I ask that you take the livelihoods of the fishermen from my region into account when you finalize your Watershed Assessment.
Bristol Bay is home to one of the world's greatest salmon fisheries and supports many sustainable jobs that benefit my region’s economy. In fact, residents of my districts held 91 commercial fishing permits for Bristol Bay in 2012 – permits that help support hundreds of jobs in Southwest Washington. However, recent EPA findings outlined in the updated risk assessment have raised serious concerns within this fishing community over the sustainability of the fishery and the potential impact of a large scale mining operations.
I ask that a thorough, science-based approach be used so that an accurate assessment can inform this critical decision.
I will continue following this issue and would appreciate any updates your staff can provide as this process moves forward. Please do not hesitate to contact me if I can be of assistance.