Letter: Trump, GOP are selling irreplaceable ecosystems

Published: 1/27/2019 12:01:01 AM

Thank you for highlighting the environmental threat to Bristol Bay, Alaska, from the proposed Pebble Mine (Sunday Monitor Forum, Jan. 20). The potential loss of the last remaining wild and healthy salmon populations in the Pacific should resonate with everyone in New England, as we have seen the catastrophic decline of East Coast fishing stocks over the past century.

In addition to a thriving, sustainable, wild salmon fishery, Alaska hosts the only migrating large mammals left in our country. The Porcupine caribou herd travels from Canada to Alaska each spring to give birth on the coastal plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. Last summer, more than 200,000 caribou made this journey.

The Arctic National Wildlife Refuge has been protected as wilderness for almost 40 years. Past efforts to open the coastal plain of the refuge to oil development have failed thanks to overwhelming public support to maintain its protected status. Until now.

The Trump administration, with full support of all voting Republican members of Congress, passed the tax bill of 2017, which quietly handed over the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to the oil industry without public input. Despite the government shutdown, Department of Interior employees are working, with pay, to expedite lease sales in this fragile and irreplaceable ecosystem for the sole benefit of the oil industry.

The priorities of the Trump administration are clear when it comes to our nation’s natural resources and public lands. Whether it is the robust salmon runs of Bristol Bay or the caribou birthing grounds in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, they are all open for sale to the mining, oil and gas industries.

We must use our voices and our votes to redirect the environmental policies of the current leaders in government. Or our children will pay for our silence.



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