Thursday, March 18, 2010

It’s the worst possible nightmare for Alaska’s wilderness, and I need your help to stop it. A foreign-owned mining company called Anglo American is planning to dig one of the world’s largest open-pit mines -- the Pebble Mine -- in the heart of Alaska’s irreplaceable Bristol Bay watershed. You couldn’t pick a worse place to dig this dirty 2,000-foot-deep, two-mile-long gold and copper mega-mine.

It’s the worst possible nightmare for Alaska’s wilderness, and I need your help to stop it.

A foreign-owned mining company called Anglo American is planning to dig one of the world’s largest open-pit mines -- the Pebble Mine -- in the heart of Alaska’s irreplaceable Bristol Bay watershed.

You couldn’t pick a worse place to dig this dirty 2,000-foot-deep, two-mile-long gold and copper mega-mine.

That’s why we need you to sign our Petition of Protest now so that we can send your signature along with hundreds of thousands of others to Anglo American’s Annual Shareholders Meeting, which ironically enough is being held on April 22: Earth Day!

Please take action immediately to help save this Alaskan paradise. The planet’s largest sockeye salmon streams run through it, with tens of millions of salmon not just supporting an abundance of bears, whales, seals, and eagles but also sustaining Native communities that have thrived here for thousands of years.

Sited in a known earthquake zone, Pebble Mine’s colossal earthen dams -- which are supposed to hold back some 9 billion tons of mining waste mixed with toxic chemicals -- could release vast quantities of contaminants into the surrounding ecosystem in the event of a quake.

But it wouldn’t even take such a massive release to irreparably damage this unspoiled place. That’s because Anglo American’s plan for Pebble Mine also includes the permanent destruction of over 60 miles of salmon habitat.

If Bristol Bay’s world-famous salmon runs collapse, it could take down the entire ecosystem, not to mention the communities that depend on the salmon for their livelihood.

Anglo American’s reported record of environmental contamination is shocking. The company’s history is littered with one toxic disaster after another … from Zimbabwe to Ireland … from South Africa to even Nevada.

It’s no wonder that so many Alaskan Natives -- led by Nunamta Aulukestai (“Caretakers of the Land”) along with Alaskan fishermen, sportsmen, and conservationists, are organizing to prevent this apocalyptic outcome.

Here’s what Bobby Andrew, spokesperson for Nunamta Aulukestai, says about the mine: "Some of these mining companies have wreaked environmental devastation all over the world. How can we allow them to invade and industrialize our sacred land and pollute our waters? How can we let these foreign corporations deprive our people of the salmon and other subsistence foods that we rely on for our very survival?"

That’s why NRDC has joined the local opposition and is now preparing to help take their fight to the national and international stage to stop Anglo American.

But we need you to stand with us. Please do your part to stop Pebble Mine by signing our Petition of Protest now.
We must seize this chance to send Anglo American a message loud and clear at its Shareholder Meeting: American citizens will NOT stand for the contamination and destruction of Alaska’s Bristol Bay wilderness. Not on Earth Day. Not on any day.

The first step to stopping this corporate goliath is letting them know that Americans fervently support the people of Bristol Bay in opposing this scheme -- and that the company is in for a long and expensive fight if it moves forward.

Please act now to help defeat Anglo American’s disastrous plan. Pebble Mine would be an unimaginable disaster for wildlife, local communities and our Alaskan wilderness. I’m counting on you to help us stop it.

Sincerely,
Frances
Frances Beinecke
President
Natural Resources Defense Council

P.S. With Earth Day so close at hand, there isn’t much time for you to sign our Petition. We only have weeks to gather hundreds of thousands of signatures on our Petition and get it delivered to mining giant Anglo American in London.

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As Jim Hightower explains it, is that “the wealthiest 1 percent of Americans possess more net worth today than the bottom 90 percent of us combined. Worse, these privileged few and their political henchmen have structured a new economic ‘normal’ of long-term joblessness, low wages, no benefits or worker rights, miserly public services, and a steadily widening chasm between the rich and the rest of us.” We must restore sanity to this nation.