Protect Bristol Bay from Offshore Drilling
Alaska’s Bristol Bay and the southeastern Bering Sea encompass one of the most productive marine ecosystems in the world. These sub-arctic waters support:
- The world's largest sockeye salmon runs.
- Globally important fisheries worth more than $2 billion annually.
- World renowned seabird and marine mammal populations.
- Traditional Native cultures that rely on subsistence harvest of salmon, other marine and terrestrial species.
But Bristol Bay's economically, ecologically and culturally important marine resources face unprecedented threats. At the headwaters of the region's salmon producing rivers, multinational mining giant Anglo American is moving forward with plans to develop potentially the world's largest gold and copper mine. Further south amid the region's marine waters, oil companies including Royal Dutch Shell are aggressively pressing to open the area to offshore drilling.
AMCC has worked hand-in-hand with local communities, Tribes and fishermen for over seven years to tackle the offshore drilling threat.
In March of 2010, President Obama announced that Bristol Bay would be protected from offshore oil and gas development until 2017 representing a tremendous victory for the campaign. This decision halted a lease sale that was moving forward for 2011 and was merely steps away from becoming a reality. The region's rich waters are now temporarily protected but as the long and controversial history of offshore drilling in the region's demonstrates, the drive to open Bristol Bay to harmful development will continue unless a lasting solution is put in place.
Bristol Bay needs permanent protection from offshore development to ensure that the area isn't again opened for leasing in the future. Through our Bristol Bay program, AMCC is working with a broad coalition of fishing groups, conservation organizations and Native communities to ensure permanent protection for our nation's fish basket.
BP's Deepwater Horizon Spill: The Ultimate Wake-up Call for Bristol
On April 20, 2010 BP's offshore oil rig, the Deepwater Horizon experienced a deadly blowout and two days later sunk into the Gulf of Mexico. Massive amounts of oil have spewed uncontrollably into the ocean, causing immeasurable harm to the Gulf's marine life as well as to the region's fishermen, communities and local economies. The Deepwater Horizon incident is a clear example of the dangers of offshore drilling and serves as the ultimate wake-up call for Alaska's fish-rich Bristol Bay, which has been a target of the oil industry for more than 30 years and is not yet permanently protected. Read AMCC's publication on the causes and effects of the Gulf oil spill and what it means for Bristol Bay.
On March 31, 2010 President Obama and Interior Secretary Ken Salazar announced that protections from offshore drilling in Bristol Bay would be reinstated through 2017. This is a huge victory for our Friends of Bristol Bay program, but it does not yet mean that the area is permanently protected from offshore oil and gas development.
|Top 10 Reasons to Protect Bristol Bay from Offshore Drilling
Bristol Bay’s coastal and marine resources are simply too important to put at risk. Find out what is at stake if offshore oil and gas drilling is allowed in Bristol Bay.
|Risks of Oil and Gas Drilling
In addition to oil spills, offshore oil and gas development poses a number of significant risks and potential impacts to fish, crab, marine mammals, seabirds and waterfowl.
|History of Protection
Bristol Bay communities won Congressional protection for Bristol Bay in 1989. The ban on drilling in Bristol Bay was lifted in 2007. Visit this page for a timeline of protection.
|Commercial Fisheries Value
The area targeted for offshore drilling overlaps with fisheries that generate more than $2 billion dollars annually and provide more than 40% of the nation's annual seafood catch.
|Maps, Fact Sheets, and More!
Here you will find maps showing the overlap of proposed offshore drilling with important habitat and fishing grounds, downloadable fact sheets, AMCC's public comments and much more.
|Act Now to Restore Protection for Bristol Bay!
You can help! Please visit our action page for the latest on how you can help to safeguard Bristol Bay.