This week the Pebble Advisory Committee met face to face for the first time in Anchorage to learn more about developer plans for the copper-gold-molybdenum mining prospect located in Bristol Bay, Alaska. During the multi-day meeting, participants got an update on ongoing environmental studies, a preview of the mine plan, and a tour of the deposit site in Bristol Bay.
On Monday, 100 protesters rallied in downtown Anchorage across from the Hotel Captain Cook, the original location for the meeting. Under a steady rain, they listened to speakers, waved pre-printed and hand-made signs, and cheered whenever a passing car honked in approval. The weather didn’t dampen their enthusiasm to speak out against the Pebble project, and neither did the location change for the Advisory Committee meeting. According to a report in the Alaska Dispatch News, mine developer Pebble Limited Partnership (PLP) said the meeting was relocated due to construction at the Captain Cook.
PLP created the Advisory Committee in May, stating it wants to hear a range of different opinions about the project and get feedback on everything from engineering and design to community benefits and concerns. Members currently include three Alaskans, Willie Hensley, AlexAnna Salmon and William Johnson, along with Terrence “Rock” Salt, Jim Maddy, and retired Air Force Gen. Joe Ralston. Up to six additional members could join the committee.
However, several groups opposing the mine see the formation of an Advisory Committee as a public relations strategy. PLP invited many of these groups to this week’s meeting in Anchorage, but they declined to participate. In a letter published in the Alaska Dispatch News, critics of the project expressed unwavering opposition against the development of Pebble mine at any size. They include Rep. Bryce Edgmon (D-Dillingham), Speaker of the Alaska House of Representatives, Bristol Bay Native Association CEO Ralph Andersen, Bristol Bay Economic Development Corporation President Robin Samuelson, United Tribes of Bristol Bay President Robert Heyano, Trout Unlimited Alaska Director Nelli Williams, Nunamta Aulukestai Director Myrtice Noden, and Katmai Service Providers President Brian Kraft.
Pebble Advisory Committee’s first in-person meeting visits proposed mine site; draws criticism, KDLG radio, August 25, 2017
Critics reject meeting with Pebble developers, Associated Press, August 18, 2017
New Pebble Advisory Committee meets indoors while mine protesters gather outside, KTOO, August 22, 2017
In downtown Anchorage, activists protest meeting to discuss Pebble mine prospect, Alaska Dispatch News, August 22, 2017
Pebble forms Advisory Committee to help with range of issues, KDLG Radio, May 18, 2017