Larsen Fights to Protect Bristol Bay, Washington State’s Fishing Industry

Jul 16, 2014 Issues: Environment, Jobs Labor and the Economy

WASHINGTON—Rep. Rick Larsen, WA-02, continued to fight to protect Bristol Bay and Washington state’s fishing industry today by opposing a bill that would restrict the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) ability to use the Clean Water Act to prevent environmentally harmful projects from going forward.

The House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee considered H.R. 4854, the Regulatory Certainty Act, which would impact EPA’s ability to act on its determination that the Pebble Mine would threaten the health of Bristol Bay in Alaska.

Larsen urged his colleagues to vote against the bill, though the committee passed the bill by a vote of 33-22.

“When EPA announced its decision to halt the Pebble Mine near Bristol Bay, its action was based on three years of scientific study that concluded the mine would endanger the health of the world’s largest sockeye salmon fishery.

“Thousands of Washington fishers and processors depend on this vibrant fishery. This year alone, fishers have caught more than 27 million sockeye and the season is still going strong.

“Many of the fishers in these waters are small business owners who rely on this vital natural resource to make a living. These small businesses add up to major economic impact in Washington state, where the Bristol Bay Fishery supports 73,000 jobs.

“Our small business owners should not have to fish under the shadow of having their livelihoods wiped out by a mine that science has told us could have devastating impacts.

“I told my colleagues that if they pass this bill, they should enjoy eating sockeye now while it’s still available. I am disappointed this bill moved forward, and I will continue urging my colleagues to let the EPA do its job and protect Washington state’s fishing industry,” Larsen said.

###