Sea Port's Comments Concerning EPA’s Proposal to Withdraw Proposed Clean Water Act Restrictions on Mining Activities in the Bristol Bay Watershed in Alaska
Sea Port Products Corporation is in the business of providing healthy seafood for human consumption in the United States. Through our many corporate Go Blue! initiatives, we demonstrate our responsibility to help sustain and improve the health of our world’s productive aquatic resources that we ultimately depend upon for our continued business success. In short, in order to sell healthy seafood we need to have sustainably healthy waters in our marine and freshwater ecosystems. We oppose mining in the Bristol Bay watershed because we believe that such activities would negatively affect the health and productive capacity of both the marine and freshwater habitats that are crucial for sustaining the bountiful production of salmonids in this World Heritage class natural wonderland. The EPA should share this same sense of responsibility and wholeheartedly oppose mining in the Bristol Bay watershed by sustaining its current proposed Clean Water Act restrictions. Staying on such a course is in the conservation spirit of Teddy Roosevelt and is statutorily required under the Magnuson Stevens Act’s directive to protect essential fish habitats.
Historically, rivers in the Pacific Northwest and Northern California were dammed and their watersheds were altered that resulted in sacrificing the abundant natural salmon runs in order to grow irrigated crops, produce electricity, mine minerals, and harvest lumber. Even though these massive salmon runs of the past were severely impacted, great benefits arose that helped feed, clothe, shelter, and economically advance the growing population of that time. The costs of losing the enormous salmon runs were less than the many ensuing benefits that helped support the growing population. Seen in this light, Sea Port further opposes mining in the Bristol Bay watershed because we believe the environmental costs are not sufficiently outweighed by any possible mining benefits conferred to the people of Alaska and the rest of our nation in terms of providing basic human needs or broad based economic opportunities. The University of Alaska Anchorage’s Institute of Economic and Social Research has stated that the Bristol Bay salmon industry produces over $1.5 billion per year in economic output on a national basis. Sea Port believes that this positive economic impact is most likely repeatable far into our future while any economic mining benefits will be finite and certainly not renewable.
Sea Port foresees that the majority of the additional animal protein needed for the world’s growing population, which is estimated to reach over 9 billion by 2050, will have to come from our aquatic resources by way of wild fisheries and aquaculture. Sea Port believes that the Earth’s available arable soil and pasturelands have been maximized and therefore our future terrestrial food production capabilities face serious constraints. In light of this, Sea Port further opposes mining in the Bristol Bay watershed because such activities would harm a valuable aquatic habitat that is destined to become increasingly critical for sustainable food production as our growing world population demands more healthy proteins.
In summary, Sea Port opposes mining in the Bristol Bay watershed because our future food supply will depend heavily upon the 70% of our planet that is aquatic and any human activities that negatively impact its productive potential should be avoided. Sea Port pleads with the EPA to maintain its proposed restrictions in place to help protect the Bristol Bay watershed from the negative impacts of mining activities.
Director of Sustainability Initiatives - Sea Port Products