by Shoren Brown
Commercial fisherman Dennis Andrew, who is also president of the New Stuyahok Traditional Council, takes the Keystone science meetings to task, finding them “worse” than NFL replacement referees. Andrew says Pebble’s Keystone process pushes an agenda rather than presenting independent science. In contrast, he writes, “The EPA has no financial ties to the outcome and has clear regulatory authority to conduct a study of the risks of large-scale mining to the Bristol Bay fishery under the Clean Water Act. Its mission is to provide objective information to regional stakeholders.”
Other Keystone coverage questioned the gaps in some of Pebble’s data, including the disputed number of fish near the mine site. Hal Geiger, a retired biologist who spent years with the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, said Pebble’s “index” counts of salmon do not reflect the true number of fish in the area. “What Pebble needs to do is find a way to estimate the number of salmon who spawn in the affected area,” he said.
Retired businessman Ron Maas writes that he is generally in favor of resource development, but not when it comes to Pebble. In a piece in the Juneau Empire, Maas opines, “But try as they (mining companies) may, it appears that surface water and groundwater pollution is inevitable, especially as the scale of the mine increases, and Pebble would be the largest copper mine in the world.”
Following weeks of turbulent labor strikes and unrest, Pebble Partner Anglo American announced that it lost $126 million in the platinum sector alone. At the same time, Standard&Poor’s announced that it may downgrade Anglo’s gold division bond ratings down to “junk.”
Finally, Restaurant Hospitality wrote about the growing number of chefs across the country who oppose the Pebble mine’s risks to the world’s greatest sockeye fishery, and referenced a letter from more than 200 chefs to EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson urging the agency to protect Bristol Bay.
Shoren Brown is the Bristol Bay Campaign Director for Trout Unlimited.