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Advocacy & Impact – October 2021

Written by First Affirmative

Shareholder Advocacy

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The Advocacy Long Game

Media headlines, and even our own headlines, tend to emphasize the big advocacy “win”, but those wins are more often than not years (and even decades) in the making. We highlight the Bristol Bay campaign because collective action by like-minded investors is clearly making a difference-and you can participate in your own way below.

Keeping Bristol Bay Protected

First Affirmative has been part of an investor campaign for well over 10 years now fighting to keep Alaska’s pristine Bristol Bay, the world’s largest wild salmon habitat, safe from large-scale mining. Over these many years, investors have weighed in against the development of what would be the largest gold and copper mine by Pebble Limited Partnership. Several companies were slated to build the mine but, in each case, ultimately distanced themselves from the proposal after pushback from stakeholders, including First Affirmative — Mitsubishi pulled out of the project in 2011, followed by Anglo American in 2013, Rio Tinto in 2015, and finally, First Quantum terminated its agreement to invest in 2018.

Bristol Bay, Alaska

After playing defense for so long, we are finally on the verge of closing the door to mining in Bristol Bay. In what we hope might be our final action on this issue, we joined this investor letter in April calling for the U.S. EPA and Congress to permanently protect Alaska’s Bristol Bay against large-scale mining. A wide range of stakeholders, including over 200 businesses and the Food Marketing Institute have also called for protection.

In a court filing on September 9, the U.S. Department of Justice announced a request by the EPA to remand and vacate a Trump administration notice in 2019 withdrawing protections for the Bristol Bay Waters under the Clean Water Act. By taking this step, the EPA has followed our letter’s first recommendation by using its authority under the Clean Water Act to restrict mine waste disposal in wetlands, rivers and streams within the Bristol Bay watershed-essentially stopping this mine.

There is one last and crucial step: Congress needs to enact legislation to establish a National Fisheries Area to provide permanent federal protection. You can support our advocacy efforts by adding your voice to this call.

Take Action: Sign on to this campaign sponsored by the Bristol Bay Defense Fund — a coalition of business, tribal, nonprofit, and community organizations dedicated to protecting Bristol Bay from the Pebble Mine.