GOP favors mining Alaska's Bristol Bay where Frontline reports salmon in danger
Source: Dave Masko, HULIQ
Those who visit Alaska’s “Bristol Bay” report it dry and arable where gold, animals and seafood riches abound making much of this famed “Bering Sea Land Bridge” one of the nation’s current treasure troves of natural resources. However, Republicans want to commercialize the “Bay” prompting the “Frontline” program to report “Treasure Hunt: The Battle Over Alaska’s Mega Mine” tonight at 10 p.m. ET on PBS. In turn, this July 24 first airing of this investigative report is aimed at informing the American public about “a growing battle in Alaska’s Bristol Bay region, which hosts the world’s last, great sockeye salmon fishery; and mineral deposits worth up to $500 billion.”
Frontline probes GOP plan to mine Bristol Bay
Alaska’s beautiful “Bristol Bay” got its name from a 1778 voyage of the British navigator and explorer, Captain James Cook who named the area “in honor of the Admiral Earl of Bristol” in England. Flash forward to 2012, and the July 24 “Frontline” TV program probes why there are plans to endanger this natural ecosystem for the sake of “gold” and other riches that Republicans have a hankering to mine.
Bristol Bay is located in the eastern-most arm of the Bering Sea in Southwest Alaska. The Bay is 400 km or 250 miles long and 180 miles wide at its mouth, according to a high school geology text book that also notes how a number of rivers flow into the bay; including the Cinder, Egegik, Igushik, Kvichak, Meshik, Nushagak, Naknek, Togiak and Ugashik.
While many Americans who live in the “lower 48,” may not be aware of the “threat to Bristol Bay,” states this July 24 “Frontline” TV program, The New York Times featured a page one editorial titled “A Threat to Bristol Bay” on June 4 that explained how “the possibility that a giant gold-and-copper mine might someday be built near the headwaters that feed Bristol Bay in Alaska, one of the richest salmon fisheries in the world, is cause for alarm. A new report from the Environmental Protection Agency reinforces those fears.”
The report, issued on May 18, is a draft assessment of the “potential impacts” that large-scale mining could have on the intricate network of lakes, spawning streams and wetlands that make up the Bristol Bay ecosystem, the heart of a $2.2 billion regional fishing industry.
In turn, the Times stated that “beyond that is the threat of catastrophic failure of the huge man-made reservoirs known as ‘tailing ponds’ where mining companies typically store toxic acids, metals and other mining wastes. If that happens, spawning streams would be widely polluted and future salmon harvests sharply diminished. The consortium, the mine’s main investor, says it can extract minerals safely and that the project could provide 1,000 permanent jobs. Its proposal deserves careful review. But just about every factor involved the location of the mine, the mining industry’s poor environmental record, the value of the fishery that could be harmed - suggests the risks are too high.”
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