We've told you before about the increasingly heated battle in Alaska over a proposed open-pit mine in Alaska's Bristol Bay that could potentially have devastating impacts on the region's salmon stocks, not to mention other wildlife.
Politicians are taking sides and everybody's digging their heals in.
National Geographic recently took a hard look at the issue, and wrote an article about it which you can read in its entirety here.
They explain how native tribes like the Nushagak, as well as recreational fishermen, hold the area's sockeye runs sacred. And for good reason: Alaskan Fish and Game officials believe half of the wild salmon sold in the United States come from fisheries surrounding Bristol Bay.
But salmon aren't the only natural resource in the region. Some of the largest deposits of copper and gold in the world are under these waters, and two companies, Northern Dynasty and Anglo American, would like to get at them. They're steadily moving forward with plans to dig a two-mile-wide, thousand-foot crater to mine the area.
Of course, there's a serious potential that the resulting hazardous waste could be devastating for local wildlife. It's a complex issue, as the companies, and some Alaska residents, believe the project would bring greater economic prosperity to the area in the way of jobs. Others feel that the resulting hit to the economy from a dwindling salmon fishery would far outweigh any boost the mine brought. We'll keep you updated. – Rick Bach