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ACF is pleased to announce that Michael Barber has been selected as the organization’s new Executive Director, effective August 10, 2015. Barber will replace Ann Rothe who announced her planned retirement earlier this year.
Click here to read the full announcement.
Now entering its fourth year of grantmaking to support indigenous conservation efforts, in June 2015 the Alaska Native Fund awarded $249,965 in grants to support the efforts of 13 Alaska Native organizations and 1 Alaska Native individual working across the state to address the critical conservation issues affecting their cultures, communities and economic opportunities. Click here for the press release and here for a complete list of 2015 ANF grants awarded.
On January 25, 2015, the Obama Administration made a major announcement that it is proposing additional wilderness designations for the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and its Coastal Plain as part of the newly released Comprehensive Conservation Plan for the Refuge. Click here to see the official White House message.
A federal judge ruled on November 24, 2014 to temporarily halt any U.S. EPA decisions regarding whether or not to protect Bristol Bay from the proposed Pebble Mine until a recent lawsuit brought against them by the Pebble Ltd. Partnership is resolved. This will likely delay the EPA’s final decision, which was expected by February 4, 2015. Read the Alaska Dispatch article here.
Fortunately, the judge’s ruling doesn’t negate the science the EPA is using to demonstrate the impact this mine would have on the watershed, or take away from the public process the EPA utilized to engage those who would be most impacted by it. ACF and our partners remain cautiously optimistic the EPA will succeed in overcoming this latest hurdle and exercise its authority under the Clean Water Act to protect Bristol Bay. We will continue to keep you updated on any major developments.
The public comment period on The EPA’s proposed determination for the Bristol Bay watershed closed on September 19, during which time Alaskans submitted an estimated 20,000 public comments asking for Clean Water Act protection for Bristol Bay. Read more here.
Whats Next? The EPA has announced they’ll have a decision no later than Feb. 4, 2015 on either withdrawing the Proposed Determination or preparing a Recommended Determination. Click here for a visual idea of where the process is. The Feb. 4 date immediately above refers to Step 3 in the flow chart.
What can you do? There have been bills introduced in both the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives seeking to stop this work by The EPA by altering the Clean Water Act itself. Please contact your members of Congress to ask them to protect the Clean Water Act so The EPA may finish the job of protecting Bristol Bay.
On September 18th, over 100 guests gathered for ACF’s 2014 Conservation Achievement Awards Ceremony to honor this year’s recipients for their remarkable contributions to Alaska conservation. Event festivities featured live music and great food but as always the highlight of the evening was the amazing recipient speeches that followed, including those from Bob Childers (Lifetime Achievement Award) and Shanelle Afcan (Wilcher Award for Young Environmental Activists). Shanelle was unable to attend the ceremony but put together a truly inspirational video to share with guests. Click here to hear why she is inspired to protect Alaska and what this award means to her.
To learn more about this year’s event, please click here.
In yet another step towards Bristol Bay protection, on July 18, 2014, the EPA issued a “proposed determination,” defining strict standards the proposed Pebble Mine would need to achieve before securing permits under the Clean Water Act. This means that any developer wishing to mine the Pebble deposit must prove that its operations will not have an unacceptable adverse effect on Bristol Bay’s water resources. Read more here.
The 60-day comment period is still open, but hurry, the comment period closes on September 19th, 2014. This will be the last chance to submit comments under the Clean Water Act process. Submit them here today.
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