Faith Leaders Call for Protection for Bristol Bay
Study Concludes that Proposed Pebble Mine
the Health of Creation, Livelihoods and Tribal Communities
May 31, 2012 – Representatives of the National Council of Churches called
for protection of the Bristol Bay Watershed today at a public hearing in
Following a recent trip to Washington, D.C. by senior
religious leaders to educate elected officials about the importance of
Bristol Bay, today’s testimonies reiterated the need to prevent large scale
development in the Bay, which would threaten jobs, the health of Creation
and Alaskan Native culture.
Last week, Archbishop Benjamin of the Orthodox Church in America, Bishop Wm.
Chris Boerger of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and Reverend
Marja Coons-Torn of the United Church of Christ joined the National Council
of Churches in Washington D.C. to thank the Environmental Protection Agency
(EPA) for their scientific assessment of Bristol Bay and educate elected
officials about the need for Bristol Bay protection.
Recently, the EPA released a scientific assessment of Bristol Bay that
concluded a large scale gold and copper mine, such as the Pebble Mine that
has been proposed, would destroy at least 55 miles of salmon spawning
habitat and 2500 acres of wetland.
This would threaten the health of God’s Creation and the
well-being of the subsistence culture that provides for the more than 8,000
Alaskan Natives living around Bristol Bay.
“[Episcopal Church Presiding] Bishop Katharine Jefferts
Schori frequently talks about science and religion providing two ways of
knowing and understanding the beauty of Creation," said Mike Schut of the
Episcopal Church at the hearing. "And she notes that we have better 'depth
perception' when we use both. The scientific assessment conducted by the EPA
provides that depth perception that we in the faith community did not have
before when it comes to Bristol Bay.”
Ms. Tyler Edgar of the National Council of Churches Eco-Justice Program
brought greetings and thanks from the Orthodox Church in America.
“Protecting Bristol Bay is in keeping with our Christian call to protect
Creation and seek justice for the most vulnerable," Edgar said. "We must do
all that we can to protect this beautiful and bountiful part of God’s
Since its founding in 1950, the National Council of
the Churches of Christ in the USA has been the leading force for
shared ecumenical witness among Christians in the United States. The NCC's
37 member communions -- from a wide spectrum of Protestant, Anglican,
Orthodox, Evangelical, historic African American and Living Peace
churches -- include 40 million persons in more than 100,000 local
congregations in communities across the nation.
NCC News contact:
Philip E. Jenks, 212-870-2228 (office), 646-853-4212 (cell),