Bristol Bay leaders grateful for Sen. Murkowski’s directive to follow science in Pebble mine permit review


Ralph Andersen, Bristol Bay Native Association President & CEO, (907) 842-5257
Norm Van Vactor, Bristol Bay Economic Development Corporation, (907) 843-2508
Nanci Morris Lyon, Bear Trail Lodge, (907) 469-0622
Lindsay Layland, United Tribes of Bristol Bay Deputy Director, (907) 843-2401

ANCHORAGE, AK  — Today, Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), the Chair of the Interior, Environment and Related Agencies Appropriations Subcommittee, released report language (page 91) that calls for a bolstered scientific review of the proposed Pebble mine permit in Alaska. The language in the Interior appropriations bill is critical of the current process and urges the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) to take the time it needs to fully work with other key state and federal agencies to ensure that their concerns, and those of the region’s stakeholders, are addressed through the review process. 

Bristol Bay leaders from various organizations responded to today’s news.

Ralph Andersen, President & CEO of the Bristol Bay Native Association stated:
“For nearly two years, the people of Bristol Bay have watched in horror as the Army Corps rushed through its review of Pebble, ignoring the devastating impacts the project could have in our region simply because of politics. The language in the appropriations bill sends a clear message that this is not appropriate behavior from a federal agency. This is an important step in stopping the sham review process currently underway, and we look forward to seeing the senator continue to hold them accountable for the robust public process and scientific review that this region deserves.”

Norm Van Vactor, Bristol Bay Economic Development Corporation President and CEO stated:
“After a record-breaking salmon season in Bristol Bay, we’re glad to see elected leaders standing up for our fishery and all it sustains. Bristol Bay has said time and time again that we will not trade our world class fishery for a gold mine. The Army Corps needs to start listening to our concerns, and to the scientists who have pointed out major flaws in Pebble’s plan. I’m hopeful that this language will help encourage them to do so, and look forward to seeing our leaders hold them accountable. We will not allow this mine to be built at the expense of our fishery.”

Alannah Hurley, Executive Director of the United Tribes of Bristol Bay stated:
“Bristol Bay has long been promised a fair process and a rigorous, scientific review of Pebble’s plan. It is clear that the Army Corps is not delivering on this promise, and we’re glad to see Congress take note of the corrupt review and call for an end to this facade. It’s time for the Army Corps to realize that they serve the people  – not a foreign mining company – and stop pushing this toxic project forward.”

Nanci Morris Lyon, Owner of Bear Trail Lodge said:
“This region is our home and its resources provide our livelihood. Giving Pebble a key permit without carefully reviewing the science and every component of operation plans would be an insult to those of us who live here. I’m grateful to our Senator, and expect decision makers at all levels to act accordingly and with great care and urgency for Bristol Bay. American jobs and a global treasure lie in the balance. There is no going back. We have to get this right.” 

Nelli Williams, Alaska Director of Trout Unlimited, said:  
“We are thankful that Senator Murkowski is taking steps to bring some sensibility into Pebble’s permit review, as the Army Corps of Engineers has proven completely incompetent in their ability to deal with this important issue in a science-based manner. All can agree, the Bristol Bay region and resources it sustains deserves nothing but the utmost care and rigor for any project under consideration.”


Bristol Bay Native Association represents 31 Bristol Bay tribes & is the regional nonprofit tribal consortium providing social, economic, and educational opportunities to tribal members.
Bristol Bay Economic Development Corporation represents 17 CDQ communities & exists to promote economic growth and opportunities for Bristol Bay residents through sustainable use of the Bering Sea fisheries.
United Tribes of Bristol Bay is a tribal consortium representing 15 Bristol Bay tribal governments (that represent over 80 percent of the region’s total population) working to protect the Yup’ik, Dena’ina, and Alutiiq way of life in Bristol Bay.
Nanci Morris Lyon is the co-owner and operator of Bear Trail Lodge, and year-round resident of King Salmon, Alaska. 
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. In Alaska we have thousands of members and supporters including dozens of businesses that depend on the Bristol Bay fishery. Follow TU on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for all the latest information on trout and salmon conservation. For more information on the Save Bristol Bay campaign go to