Thunda N Shakin: the Pebble Mine Song
Economic Problems with Pebble:
In 2010, the Bristol Bay Fishing Industry brought in 153 million dollars with almost 29 million Sockeye Salmon being harvested.* Commercial fishing has been going on in these waters for over a century. Because of the careful management, the Bristol Bay Fishery is sustainable and as long as it stays carefully managed should continue indefinately. This industry employs thousands of people every year. The folks at Pebble Mine have offered a handful of local jobs for 50 years. 50 years of employment, and then Bristol Bay is left with a hole in the Earth over a mile wide and a lake of toxic waste. Doesn't make much economic sense. The companies are based in London and Canada. So while they line their pockets with gold, the United States loses one of it's National Treasures. Tourism in Bristol Bay brings in millions each year. With global warming bringing temperatures sweltering in the summers, more and more people will be wanting to migrate north for a vacation.
*Data collected from the Alaska Department of Fish and Game's 2010 Season Summary
Cultural Problems with Pebble:
There are people living in Bristol Bay. Thousands of Native people who have their entire culture intertwined with living off the land. They fill their freezers with salmon, moose, caribou, berries and other foods from the land. In the villages of Bristol Bay the predominant language is not English. These people have the right to continue their way of life. To pass on their dances, language, and stories to their children. Creating a toxic tailings pond that will someday leach into the water is cultural genocide. There is no way for the Pebble Partnership to assure an infinite watch on their toxic waste. When this poison gets into our streams it will force people to relocate.
Environmental Problems with Pebble:
To build the largest open pit mine in North America at the headwaters of the two largest Sockeye Salmon producing rivers on the planet seems preposterous. But that is exactly what two foreign mining companies are proposing in Southwest Alaska at the headwaters of the Nushagak and Kvichak Rivers. These rivers have had millions of healthy fish returning year after year for millennia. This area is wild. It is home to grizzlies, wolves, caribou, wolverines, foxes, otters, moose, and much more. All of these animals thrive here in Bristol Bay because of the abundance of clean water. At a time where clean water is becoming more and more rare, it only makes sense to preserve our last remaining supplies. Pebble also sits in a seismically active area. So the promises made of keeping the toxic waste contained are unattainable.