Seattle fishermen rally against proposed Alaska mine

By:  KIRO – Graham Johnson
Source: KIRO

Dozens of Seattle fishermen rallied Thursday to call on President Barack Obama to stop a proposed copper and gold mine in Alaska.

Fishermen said the Pebble Mine near Bristol Bay, Alaska, would threaten local jobs that depend on wild sockeye salmon.

A report released last week by the Environmental Protection Agency says pollution from the mine could devastate salmon runs.

Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., sent a letter to Obama asking him to use the Clean Water Act to halt the mine.

"The science is in," Cantwell said. "Oil and water don't mix and neither do salmon and toxic mining pollution."

Cantwell's letter to the president said nearly half of Washington's 33,500 fishing industry jobs are directly connected to Bristol Bay salmon fishing.

"We're tired, as fishermen, of the economic cloud of uncertainty that is hanging over our heads," said Seattle-based fisherman Brett Veerhusen.

Seattle restaurant owner Tom Douglas is among 250 chefs who also sent a letter to the White House opposing the mine.

Douglas says salmon account for 20 percent of the revenue in his restaurants.

"We're all downstream," he said.