The Army Corps of Engineers announced on Wednesday that it has denied a permit for the Pebble Mine, a massive gold and copper mine proposed near Bristol Bay in Alaska. The proposed Pebble Mine would result in one of the largest open pit copper mines in the world. Opponents say this would destroy breeding grounds for salmon in the pristine Bristol Bay region.
The statement issued by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers on November 25 said that a plan to deal with waste from the Pebble Mine “does not comply with Clean Water Act guidelines” and that “the proposed project is contrary to the public interest.”
This is a huge victory for the Native Yupik, Dena’ina and Aleutian People - all residents of the Bristol Bay area - as well as for all of the activists who have been working tirelessly for decades to protect the world’s last fully-intact salmon system.
“The credit for this victory belongs not to any politician, but to Alaskans and Bristol Bay’s Indigenous peoples as well as to the hunters, anglers, and wildlife enthusiasts from all across the country who spoke out in opposition to this dangerous and ill-conceived project. We can be thankful that their voices were heard, that science counted and that people prevailed over short-term profiteering.”
- Adam Kolton, Executive Director, Alaska Wilderness League
Science counted. Voices were heard. Documentaries were made.
Friday Harbor Film Festival wishes to congratulate film director Mark Titus, whose documentary films The Breach (2014) and The Wild (2019), have been instrumental in bringing awareness to the plight of salmon in Bristol Bay and outlining the ongoing struggle to preserve the world’s last fully-intact salmon system and salmon culture of Bristol Bay’s indigenous peoples.
Yesterday, Friday Harbor Film Festival’s Executive Director, Karen Palmer, told filmmaker Titus, “You fought hard with your heart and soul and literally your life to save Bristol Bay. Beyond words, you used the power of film to tell the story. We thank you.”
Other FHFF board members expressed their gratitude and appreciation as well:
“A victory beyond measure. Momentum for the battles still ahead. Here’s to all the storytellers who light the way.”
- Susan, FHFF Board Member
“I am at a loss for words to describe the importance of what the Festival does for our world, and the power it generates among those who care for our world and are willing to protect it.”
- Tony, FHFF Board Member
Permanent Protection Must Come Next!
Although this is a great victory to be celebrated, now is not the time to rest on our laurels. The project's developer, Pebble Limited Partnership, plans to administratively appeal the Corps decision, so our only way forward is to work towards permanent protection for Bristol Bay, its indigenous cultures, and sockeye salmon. Learn more about The Wild and Titus’s ongoing efforts to influence positive change on the planet here. @thewildfilm
Friday Harbor Film Festival’s monthly documentary film series highlights current environmental issues, heroic adventures, sustainable agriculture, social justice, marine ecology, and stirring human interest stories. Learn more at fhff.org