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A Response from TU Colorado (with Chum response) 

Hey guys,

I would like to respond to your unreasonable attack and accusations against the Boulder Flycasters, the local chapter of Trout Unlimited in Boulder, Colorado, and one of the most celebrated chapters in our state, maybe even the country.

First, for the record, I am a Moldy Chum fan – I have your stickers (just bought a new set a few weeks ago, in fact), ball caps, and t-shirts that I wear with pride, and have for years. I have your website posts in my RSS feed, so I see your content served fresh, daily. Even have one of your old fly stickers on the back of my truck. In fact, I am one of your “Reel Purists” on the Reel Pure website. I appreciate your quirky and off-the-cuff comments and posts, and of course the fishing stuff is great.

But when I saw your post this morning blasting the Boulder Flycasters for their invitation to the Keystone Group to speak at their chapter meeting about the Pebble Mine, I could not believe my eyes. It was a “WTF” moment and quite frankly, was so out of line that I was hoping it was just a snarky quip about Pebble. As the morning wore on, I realized that was not the case.

Let me make this perfectly clear…

We steadfastly support protection of Bristol Bay, and feel that the best way to assure that is to not develop the Pebble Mine. Trout Unlimited is THE LEADER when it comes to the protection of this amazing and precious place. Colorado Trout Unlimited, and its 23 chapter’s state wide, has signed on in allegiance with National Trout Unlimited in support of the efforts to stop this mine in its tracks. We have participated in that effort in a number of very substantial ways. We have hosted an array of fundraisers, petition drives, events, movie showings and premiers, and have even had members and journalists go to Bristol Bay to see the site and participate in this process. Some of these events have been held in Boulder, hosted by the Boulder Flycasters.

That said, we think it is a good thing to hear different perspectives and get a wide range of information into the hands of our members and the public. Indeed, one of the worst problems plaguing our nation's dialogue on many controversial issues is THE REFUSAL TO LISTEN to others with whom we disagree and instead to retreat into our own echo chambers. We happen to believe that civil dialogue and exchange of ideas and information is a good thing, and helps individuals make more informed decisions. The fact that we will be hearing other points of view from a Keystone mediator funded through Pebble Mine does not in any way change our values or our commitment to the protection of Bristol Bay's wild salmon - it just means we want to understand all the different perspectives.

Trout Unlimited is a moderate, open-minded, and balanced organization. In few cases do we just flat say no. But this time, if you look at our record and our actions across the country on this issue, that is exactly what we have done. Just because we are willing to listen to the other side of the argument does not mean that we are weak or are caving, it means that we are mature enough to listen and engage.

The Boulder Flycasters are one of the most celebrated chapters in the state of Colorado – most recently for their significant local stream restoration efforts (costing hundreds of thousands of dollars and thousands of volunteer man-hours). They also have award-winning youth education and communications programs.

Instead of being condescending and negative towards a very dedicated group of volunteers, I would like to invite you to come to Colorado sometime, roll up your sleeves and participate in some of the great volunteer work that is being done here to conserve, protect, and restore Colorado’s coldwater fisheries…work that is being done to provide healthy places for you and others to fish, float, contemplate, and make money, together, in this amazing place.


Sinjin Eberle, President
Colorado Trout Unlimited

Hi Sinjin,

Perhaps the utter bullshit adjective was a bit strong. In retrospect - "does not pass the smell test" might have been a little less emotionally charged.

This is simply a case of us questioning the logic behind inviting Keystone (arguably a pro Pebble Mine group hiding behind the guise of fair and balanced) to a function hosted by a chapter of TU. It was never our intent to "attack" the integrity, work, or reputation of the Boulder Fly Casters - or question their position on Pebble. Over the years we have proudly supported the efforts of TU (support that goes well beyond the pages of the Chum).

As you know, we have never been afraid to call it like we see it and we'll never buy the "both sides of the argument" defense when it comes to Pebble. No offense, but there is absolutely nothing to be open minded about when it comes to what's at stake in Bristol Bay.

Thanks for taking the time to respond.

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Reader Comments (16)

Thanks, guys. I appreciate your support and response on this issue.


Love to see this out of the Chum. Having the cajones to run the editorial and qualify the original statements is a classy move. Good on you Chum and TU, CO for letting your voice be heard.

September 7, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterOpen Mind(e)s

I couldn't agree with the CTU guys more. Moldy Chum was completely out of line and I have honestly lost a lot of respect in site. Being able to look at an argument from both sides ultimately helps bolster your own side of the argument. You'd learn that in any philosophy or law 101 class. Go ahead and continue your close-minded approach, but you already lost my support.

September 7, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterTaylor

There are too sides to every argument. That's the rule. There is an exception to every rule. This is the exception. I'm with MC on this side. The only parties that support the development and expansion of the mine are those that have a financial stake in the outcome.

That being said, I have very little confidence this mine can be contained. Money, Power and Greed will eventually win out. The bribes and payoffs will be to much to overcome.

Stay righteous and stall it as long as possible.

Lastly, fish now so you can tell your grandchildren what the good ol days where like.

September 7, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMatt K

Taylor, See Ya:)

September 7, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJeff

your making me embarrassed to say i'm from Colorado Boulder Fly Casters.
couldn't agree more-with Pebble, theres only one right answer

September 7, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterDanny

Why isn't everyone so upset about every other mine? Is it because Pebble is bigger? Or Sockeye are more delicious? There are plenty of operations going on in Colorado that should upset the anglers there.

September 8, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterRory

I would liken it to something of a Holy Place. Magic Ground or whatever you hold very special. Man if this mine happens we've all screwed up. I haven't been there in 10 years and I thought there were to many lodges visiting it then but I could see why. There are a lot of places that are just as beautiful in Alaska even more so but this place not only has monster trout in a small stream but it's pivotal for salmon. If something bad happened at a mine site there it would I think completely devastate salmon populations in the area. That area intails all of Bristol bay and beyond. Putting one of these mines any where around any of those lakes or headwaters up there is mind boggling to me. We're talking about putting somethnig like a nuclear weapon (actually bigger in destruction power) in the hands of people who have bad track records with there now working mines. This isn't even a US company it's a Canadan company. They think they can build a dam that will contain waste in the Ring of Fire, what's wrong with these guys? You know I'm almost 60 years old and I've seen some really stupid things happen in my life time. Like Dams built on steelhead rivers. Everyone said that we were crying wolf and going overboard with our fears and concerns, guess what happened. Maybe I'll live for another 10 years maybe more but if this mine goes in I will not have to live with it you will. It will be the worst thing as far as fly fishing or just fishing goes that has happened in my life time. If you have the attitude that what you've never experienced you will not miss, well all I've got to say to you is "you're a dumb fuck"

September 8, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJeff

I dont know much about pebble mine per se, but having worked for a major resources co specifically in the field of public stategy i can tell chumists this- anglo american , like all its behemoth brothers, will have employed an army of lobbyists to get their mine and money working. Engaging with the soft front end of this effort- through the like of the proposed evening presentation to CTU may seem open minded and reasonable, intellectually sound in wanting to hear both sides etc etc, but what is actually happening is this- the lobbyists will report back to their bosses on the discussion they took part in, identifying anyone they believe can be turned to an at least neutral position, or preferably " incentivised" to be a reasonable voice in the TU world ( ie someone who can be used as an agent to divide the opposition position) -the individuals who appear turnable will then be cultivated by the lobbyists over time. And believe me there will be someone who will make the effort to cosy up to the good folk from pebble mine-because there is a shit load of money in play here...and money talks. The only ways to defeat this are a) dont engage in the charade the big boys are trying to pull or (and more difficult) have the meeting, get a load of journos there and make it the noisiest, rowdiest, loudest, clearest screw you statement it can possibly be to the Pebble Mine project. Fundamenatlly, in my view, the Chum crew called this right in seeing the evening as a big mistake-unfortunately CTU, trying to do the right thing, will open the door to the dark side and i guess they really dont know what they are setting up here. Good luck all.
And normally i keep these things light.....

September 8, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterSpeyed cat

Then please edit me out. I'm OK with it.

September 8, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJeff

This self-righteous, sanctimonious, 'fair and balanced' rhetoric makes me want to puke. Good on you, MC, for seeing right through it. That letter from TU only made them look worse. I'm a loyal member, and I've come to expect certain elements of the organization to think and act a lot more like Dick Cheney than Ed Abbey. That's fine. It's a big tent. But to suggest that you guys were doing something evil by criticizing them is absurd. Guess what: restoring streams does not make you an environmental saint. TU has bigger fish to fry. What's next, a speaker to present 'the other side' on whether human activity is causing climate change?

September 9, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterTwo sides my ass

What the CTU folks haven't figured out is how this will be used against them. The Pebble reps (that's what they are, let's not flavor this bullshit) are there so at worst a press release that says something like "The Pebble LIimited Partnership has engaged in a grass roots discussion with TU and opponents of the mine to find a solution" will be true. A win for them will be getting the names of those who are ambivalent so that when they testify before Congress, and they'll have to at some point, they can say, "Even our staunchest opponents, Trout Unlimited, has mixed support at the membership level." What other outcome is possible? How does either further the cause of protecting the fishery? If you want to hear more about what Pebble Mine thinks of themselves, I'm sure they have plenty of forums that TU members could attend. Giving them the TU soapbox is just plain wrong.

September 10, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterSteve Z

How often does TU invite PETA to speak at a meeting? How often does a women's advocacy group invite a serial rapist to give a talk? How often does the NAACP invite a klansman to give a presentation? Sure, it's worthwhile to see both sides of an argument; but if TU has taken such a firm position on this issue, why continue to sit down with the enemy?

You can't take a big mac into an art museum. That doesn't mean all hamburgers are bad; it doesn't mean all visitors would always mess up the artwork. But eventually someone might get special sauce on the Mona Lisa, and so we have a rule to prevent this unlikely occurrence. Bristol Bay is an example of something too valuable to fuck with. If the Pebble mine purported to cure cancer or eliminate hunger, if children were dying from lack of gold in their diet, then we could look at "the other side of the argument". As it is, Pebble is claiming essentially that their investors will get insanely rich while probably not doing too much damage to one of the single greatest natural assets left on the entire earth. Fuck Pebble.

TU is fine in my book--I understand where they're coming from. But I'm with MC on this one.

September 10, 2012 | Unregistered Commentergs

No comprimise is the answer to all of this. If you comprimise or even listening to the other side and listen to their facts of matter "bullshit" you will lose ground and someone or some group will slip a firm footing in standing for what they or we have facts to believe in.. We up here in Northern Minnesota have done so with our own Pebble Mine, known as Polymet Mine. Do Not Stop Fighting and Do Not Listen to what they (the supporters of distruction) Point Blank!

Just an update to all of you who have commented on this post. Boulder Flycasters has decided to cancel the event.

And to clear up one misconception seen in a number of these comments, Colorado TU was never part of this event.

Thank you for your opinions and participation. The dialogue is probably as important as the subject. (Well, ok, maybe not, but just roll with it.)

in montana we called these guys c.c.'s.... colorado cocksuckers. and trust, theyre all the same. boulder's full of em too..

September 15, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterneil

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