They started milling around the TU display shortly after we hung the flag from the awning. Some had heard the news. Others were just catching wind of it. Others still were just curious.
"Is it true?" I heard a couple of times. "Is Pebble dead?"
No... it's not dead. But we can finally kill it, thanks to an EPA proposal released today that, should it become a rule under the Clean Water Act, would sharply limit future mining activity in the headwaters of Alaska's Bristol Bay.
We can kill it, but we must act. We must take the time and enter thoughtful comments about how Pebble would literally trash 80 miles of salmon stream with its footprint alone. We should comment on how half of the world's wild sockeye salmon are harvested from Bristol Bay and that the commercial fishery provides 14,000 American jobs and will continue to do so, so long as we keep that vital spawning and rearing habitat intact. We should comment on how a mine the scale and scope of Pebble would put at risk on of the last, best places on the planet to catch all five species of Pacific salmon, Dolly Varden, Artic char, Arctic grayling and massive rainbow trout.
And we have until Sept. 19 to get it done. Sure, we can celebrate... a little. But now is the time to double down. To go all in. To send in the linebackers. Use whatever analogy makes sense--but do it. This is not "mission accomplished." Not yet.
So, yeah, it was a lot of fun to share the great news with the fishing industry today at the ICAST/IFTD show in Orlando. It was fun to hear all the "Congratulations," and the "Nice work" comments. But we're not done yet. If we're serious about keeping the world's largest open-pit mine out of the heart of wild Alaska, now's when we have to start our finishing kick.
We're almost there. We can't quit now.