Dear Speaker Boehner, Don’t let Mr. Peabody’s Coal Train Haul away Bristol Bay

Dear Speaker Boehner,

Have you ever been to Bristol Bay Alaska? Yeah, me either. But its high on my list of places to see. Someday I will take my two sons and my wife there to experience it in all its untouched natural glory.

Do you listen to Bluegrass? If you did, you’d probably have heard of a song called “Paradise” by Jim and Jesse. Its a good one, you should look it up. The chorus goes something like this…

“Daddy won’t you take me back to Muhlenberg County, down by the Green river where Paradise lay. Well I’m sorry my son, but your too late in asking, Mr Peabody’s Coal train has hauled it away.”

That is not a conversation that I want to be having with my sons in 10 years when they ask why we can’t fish for the beautiful native rainbow trout in the Bristol Bay drainage. Its an old story that needs not be repeated. Most of us in Southwestern Ohio have deep roots in Kentucky and in coal mining country. Many of us have seen it first hand. We know that the mining companies say one thing and do another. We’ve seen and heard it all before, over and over. The studies, the safety requirements, its all a song & dance that doesn’t end well. But for once we can stop this train before it gets moving. You can help. This is how.

You can use your authority under the Clean Water Act to take a hard look at how this proposed mine will impact our nation’s biggest wild salmon fishery, the commercial fishermen and Alaska Natives who depend on it, and the local businesses who make their living off of this wild landscape in Southwestern Alaska.

If built, Pebble mine will produce between 2 and 10 billion tons of toxic waste that will have to be treated for hundreds of years. This waste will threaten Bristol Bay, an area widely recognized as one of the last remaining strongholds for healthy salmon populations in North America and the world. The region provides pristine spawning grounds for trophy rainbow trout and all five species of Pacific salmon, including the largest sockeye salmon runs on Earth, and a variety of other fish and wildlife species that depend on the nutrients from salmon, clean water, and undisturbed habitat.

I urge you to initiate a Clean Water Act 404(c) process in Bristol Bay immediately. Alaska Natives, sportsmen, commercial fishermen, churches, and conservation organizations deserve a public and science-based process to determine if the Pebble Partnership’s plans to build the biggest open pit mine in North America will harm one of our nation’s greatest fisheries.

Don’t let Mr. Peabody’s Coal Train haul away the beauty of Bristol Bay.

The Fiddle and Creel

To send your own version of a letter much like this one, sans classic Bluegrass reference, please visit and take action. Sorry folks but the speaker is in fact my home rep.


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