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Pebble Mine: The Region Says No -- Again

Joel Reynolds

Posted November 22, 2011 in Curbing Pollution, Environmental Justice, Health and the Environment, Living Sustainably, Saving Wildlife and Wild Places

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The opposition continues to grow. 

According to a poll released today of over 2,000 shareholders of the Bristol Bay Native Corporation – the regional Native corporation and largest private landholder in southwest Alaska – 81 percent of the company’s shareholders now oppose the proposed Pebble Mine, a massive gold and copper mine that would be built at the headwaters of the watershed that feeds the greatest remaining wild salmon fishery on Earth.

According to Jason Metrokin, CEO of BBNC, the problem isn’t development, since BBNC and its shareholders support responsible development of the region.  The problem is that the Pebble Mine will unavoidably put at risk the “fisheries and our Native way of life.”

The BBNC poll is the latest confirmation of the overwhelming opposition within the Bristol Bay region to the foreign mining consortium’s proposal to open a vast pit and a deep underground mine in the remote water-laden tundra between Lake Clark National Park and Lake Iliamna, the largest fresh water body in Alaska and source of the salmon-rich Kvichak River.  According to latest estimates, over 10 billion tons of mining waste laced with toxics – about 3,000 pounds for every person on the planet -- would be generated and, in theory, contained forever in a tailings pond bordered by dams larger than the Three Gorges Dam in China.   

According to the Pebble Partnership, formed by the foreign mining consortium of Anglo American, Northern Dynasty Minerals, and Rio Tinto, the long, documented history of contamination from mines like the one proposed at Pebble is irrelevant given the consortium’s commitment to environmental stewardship and compliance and its guarantee that the fishery will be protected.   Moreover, says Anglo’s CEO Cynthia Carroll, the mine will not be built without the support of the region’s residents.

So far, the people who live there aren’t buying it. 

In fact, year after year, as the results of poll after poll have shown, the wall of opposition only grows stronger, not only around Bristol Bay but state-wide, where a poll released just weeks ago by Strategies 360 Polling and Market Research revealed majority opposition to the mine.  In a state where mining has been welcomed for generations, the Pebble Mine is proving itself to be a “different kind of mine” – but not in the sense that the Pebble Partnership has hoped.    

All of these poll results – together with last month’s approval in the Lake and Peninsula Borough of the “Save Our Salmon” initiative – are the latest evidence that the Pebble Mine is a failure in the making, whether you’re an American, an Alaskan, a Bristol Bay resident, a BBNC shareholder, a fisherman, a hunter, a developer, a conservationist -- or an investor.  

Take action now to stop the Pebble Mine.

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Comments

Laura LichtblauNov 23 2011 06:45 PM

Listen to the shareholders, residents, and concerned Americans and drop this plan that will lead to irreparable harm to the local ecosystem.

Comments are closed for this post.

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Switchboard is the staff blog of the Natural Resources Defense Council, the nation’s most effective environmental group. For more about our work, including in-depth policy documents, action alerts and ways you can contribute, visit NRDC.org.

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