As a fisherman who is invested in the Bristol Bay commercial sockeye salmon fishery, I was pleased to see Sen. Mark Begich’s Feb. 19 column, “Alaska’s mining industry a gold nugget in state’s economy.”
While he may support most mines in our great state, it is comforting to see that he has chosen to make the distinction between developments that can be advanced responsibly and others whose size, type and location would undoubtedly cause irreparable and irreversible harm to their environments and the people who rely on the renewable resources supported by healthy waters and lands.
It is also good to know that he recognizes valuable non-mineral resources when he sees them, namely the Bristol Bay salmon run, a renewable resource that provides jobs and revenue that reach far into our state and national economies.
It seems that many of our lawmakers are so eager to develop our mineral resources that they would do so no matter what the cost. Begich has the intelligence to listen when exhaustive scientific studies point to conclusions that are not favorable to Alaska’s fisheries.
The Environmental Protection Agency Bristol Bay Watershed Assessment has presented evidence that is undeniable. In a world that rarely presents situations that are black and white, Alaskans should feel confident knowing that in Begich we have a senator who can see through the gray and find clarity in knowing that the proposed Pebble Mine is the wrong mine in the wrong place.