Postcard from Bristol Bay

Alaska was built on harvesting nature, but a proposed mine near valuable fishing grounds is causing some to think green. The fight to stop the Pebble Mine

Nick Hall for TIME

Kevin Wilson and Joe Picha, deck hands on the Fishing VEssel Curragh, admire the setting sun and set out on the back deck of a 32 foot long gillnet fishing vessel, Naknek River fishing district, Bristol Bay, Alaska, USA 29th June 2008.

Theo Chesley Noses his six-seat turboprop into a drizzly wind and levels off, soaring above the rich, silty veins of the Nushagak River in southwestern Alaska. The Nushagak is a salmon highway. To the west, its waters flow into Bristol Bay, home of the richest commercial-fishing grounds left in the U.S. About 40% of the wild seafood caught in the U.S. is fished right here.

To the northeast, however, something is growing that could change that. Some 100 miles upstream is the proposed site of what would be one of the largest mines in the world. The Pebble Mine, if it...

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