Date: Tue, 01/21/2014 Begich.jpg Jan. 21, 2014 Contact: Tim Bristol, Director, TU Alaska (907) 321-3291 Chris Wood, President and CEO, (703) 284-9403 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: TU Praises U.S. Sen. Begich for Opposing Pebble Mine Senator’s Support Vital for Long-term Protection of Bristol Bay ANCHORAGE—Tim Bristol, director of Trout Unlimited’s Alaska Program, praised U.S. Sen. Mark Begich for opposing the Pebble Mine in Monday’s Anchorage Daily News, in which Begich said: "I think it (Pebble Mine) will harm the environment, harm the salmon, harm the jobs that are connected to the fisheries industry out there." Sen. Begich’ s comments come days after the EPA released its final Bristol Bay Watershed Assessment, which found that the proposed Pebble Mine could destroy about 90 miles of salmon streams and up to 5,350 acres of the wetlands, ponds and streams that support one of the world’s best locations for sportfishing, and the spawning and rearing waters for Bristol Bay’s irreplaceable salmon and trout populations. His comments also echo the concerns of most Alaskans, including 80 percent of the residents of Bristol Bay whose lives would be changed drastically by the mine’s development. “Hunters and anglers, guides, lodge and sportfishing business owners and others across Alaska and America are grateful for Sen. Begich’s decision to follow the EPA’s clear science and oppose the Pebble Mine,” Bristol said. “As he well understands, Pebble is the wrong mine in the wrong place, and is a threat to Alaska’s sportfishing economy. I am hopeful that Sen. Begich’s leadership in protecting this sportsman’s paradise will inspire his colleagues to join him and the thousands of fishermen and small business owners nationwide who have also called for action to protect Bristol Bay.” Chris Wood, the President and CEO of Trout Unlimited said Begich’s leadership is vital to ensuring the long-term protection of Bristol Bay and its fishery. "He understands the value of the $1.5 billion wild fishery and the thousands of jobs it creates every year,” Wood said. “Mining in Alaska, and elsewhere, is important; but to allow a potential 20-year mine to damage a fishery that could last forever is unconscionable." Trout Unlimited is the nation’s oldest and largest coldwater fisheries conservation organization dedicated to conserving, protecting and restoring North America’s trout and salmon and their watersheds. Follow TU on Facebook and Twitter, and visit us online at tu.org or at savebristolbay.org.