Fifty-four jewelers pledge against using gold from Alaska's Bristol Bay this Valentine's Day

The release also informs $450 million generated annually with 10,000 supplied jobs by the salmon fishery of Alaska Native villages. These villages have requested the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to head off the Pebble project by invoking a provision in the Clean Water Act that would restrict the dumping of mine waste in streams, wetlands and rivers that drain into the Bay. The EPA responded to the requests from tribes and others by announcing plans to launch a scientific review of the suitability of large-scale mining in Bristol Bay watershed.


Kim Williams, executive director for Nuamta Aulukestai (Caretakers of our Land)—an association of nine Alaska Native village corporations in Bristol Bay—considers the pledge by the fifty-four jewelers and the EPA’s announcement by saying, “The support from jewelers and the recent announcement by EPA are a great gift this Valentine's Day. We're confident that this scientific review will show clearly why Bristol Bay should be protected under Section 404(c).”


On Feb. 14, Nunamta Aulukestai, the Bristol Bay Regional Seafood Development Association and the Alaska Independent Fishermen's Marketing Association plan to run full-page ads in Washington, D.C.’s Politico and Roll Call, to further urge the EPA to invoke Section 404(c) of the Clean Water Act. That same day, Alaskans will also be sending Valentines to key members of Congress and EPA officials in Washington D.C. that state: “As Alaska Natives and commercial fishermen of Bristol Bay, we urge the EPA to initiate the Clean Water Act's 404(c) process to protect the waters of Bristol Bay from billions of tons of mine waste.”


As for the fifty-four jewelers’ pledge, Bonnie Gestring of Earthworks says, “We commend these jewelers for their pledge. Consumers don't want the symbol of their love to come at the expense of this national treasure.”


For more information, visit the Earthworks press release here. Image provided by clistersbackchannel.wordpress.com

Valentine’s Day is recorded as the biggest holiday for U.S. sales in gold. However, according to a new Earthworks press release, this Valentine’s Day, fifty-four jewelers—including Zale Corp., Helzberg Diamonds, Boucheron and others—have pledged not to use gold taken from the proposed Pebble Mine at the headwaters of Bristol Bay in Southwest Alaska. The proposed mine would be the largest open-pit mine in North America and possess a serious threat to Alaskan wild salmon by the 10 billion tons of toxic estimated to be dumped into the Bristol Bay watershed.

The fifty-four jewelers' pledge is the first time a large number of jewelers have come together and taken a position on a specific place or mine, says the release. Jewelry demand accounts for 80% of annual mined production of gold, giving jewelers a powerful voice. In the case of Bristol Bay waters, these jewelers are using their voice to say “NO” to gold and encourage government help.

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