By Shoren Brown
Pebble’s Keystone science review generated more controversy this week when a respected panelist said that Pebble’s baseline data did not adequately address "the importance and role of the sport fishing economy in the regional economy," and in fact diminished it. In response, Pebble CEO John Shively further minimized the sport fishing and hunting jobs and industry as based on "a huge amount of corporate money that is spent that are largely tax write offs that supports that recreational lodge industry out there…"
Sportsmen, like lodge owner and businessman Brian Kraft, shot back in a piece by Fly Rod and Reel. Kraft noted that roughly 40 percent of his customers are Alaskan or involved directly in Alaska business, and that his business spends over $750,000 with locally-owned air transport companies alone. "Our commitment and involvement through our sport fishing lodge on the Kvichak River generates over $250,000 per year through the Igiugig Village Council, which is a small community of 63 year-round residents," said Kraft, owner of the Alaska Sportsman’s Lodge.
In Pennsylvania, a minister authored an op-ed in The Patriot-News called "Fools gold? Alaska wildlife area under threat." Rev. Marja L. Coons-Torn writes: "This time, let’s learn our lesson and prevent the damage before it can start. The Clean Water Act can be used to stop Pebble Mine from being built, if we have the political will to do so. We owe it to the thousands of Alaskans who depend on Bristol Bay’s clean waters. We owe it to the salmon, part of God’s irreplaceable gift of creation. And we owe it to future generations, to spare them another ecological disaster that seems likely to unfold."
Pebble mine backers sent out a press release to mark their millionth foot of core samples since drilling began in 1988. That millionth foot was part of a core sample that dug down to 1,715 feet. They said some 1,075 core holes have been drilled at Pebble equivalent to 189 miles.
Lastly, Pebble Partner Anglo American continues to face strikes, protests and violence in South African mines in a lengthening dispute over wages. And an Alaska agency sent out a casting call for Pebble ads asking for actors to play scientists, field researchers and lab workers "and look credible doing it."
Shoren Brown is Bristol Bay Campaign Director for Trout Unlimited.