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First Poll in Lower 48 Shows Strong Majority of Americans Oppose Pebble Mine

Taryn Kiekow Heimer

Posted December 6, 2011 in Saving Wildlife and Wild Places

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For the first time, polling has been done on the Pebble Mine in the lower 48 states – and the news isn’t good for the project.

A new poll reveals that a significant majority of Americans in the lower 48 (77%) and Alaska (68%) oppose Pebble Mine – a giant gold, copper, and molybdenum mine proposed at the headwaters of Bristol Bay, Alaska. Notably, the opposition crosses political and ideological lines. 

This level of opposition is outside the norm.  According to Belden Russonello Strategists, LLC (BRS), who conducted the poll, the results are “remarkable” and provide a “strong indication that this particular project is just plain unpopular.”      

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The BRS poll asked residents throughout the lower 48 states and Alaska for their opinion on Pebble Mine and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).  The results leave no room for doubt:

  • After hearing statements both for and against the mine, 77% of respondents in the lower 48 and 68% of Alaskans oppose Pebble Mine – 55% in both regions strongly oppose the mine.  The opposition crosses ideological, political, gender, and age group lines.
  • Support for EPA to stop the mine is strong. The majority in the lower 48 (59%) and in Alaska (54%) believe EPA should stop Pebble Mine if studies show it will pollute the land and water.
  • Salmon is a strong reason to oppose Pebble Mine, both in the lower 48 and in Alaska.  Concerns regarding the projected 10 billion tons of waste the mine will produce were also significant reasons for opposition.

This is just the latest confirmation of the overwhelming opposition to Pebble Mine.  A survey released last month by the Bristol Bay Native Corporation (BBNC) found that 81% of its Native shareholders strongly oppose Pebble Mine. And polling data released last August by the Alaska Conservation Foundation found that 85% of commercial fishermen in Bristol Bay oppose Pebble Mine, including 80% who oppose it strongly.

705-516.jpgOther surveys have also documented substantial local opposition to Pebble Mine, finding that over 80% of Bristol Bay residents oppose Pebble Mine. A state-wide poll released last month by Strategies 360 Polling and BBNC revealed that a majority of Alaskans (54%) oppose Pebble Mine, with fewer than one in three (32%) supporting it.

All of these poll results – taken together with last October’s approval in the Lake and Peninsula Borough of the “Save Our Salmon” initiative, which would prohibit the mine’s development if it would destroy or degrade salmon habitat – leave no room for doubt. 

The overwhelming majority of Bristol Bay residents–together with a strong majority of Americans – do not want the Pebble Mine.  They do not want a mine that would dump an estimated 10 billion tons of mining waste at the headwaters of the greatest wild salmon fishery in the world.  They do not want a mine that would threaten the region’s salmon, which generates thousands of jobs and $450 million in revenue each year and supports a vast ecosystem.

Take action now to stop the Pebble Mine.

 

Photos copyright Pool 32 and Robert Glenn Ketchum.

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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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