by Shoren Brown
Opposition to and questions about Pebble’s science review conducted by the Keystone Center were front and center in Alaska all week. More than 125 people protested outside the meeting, urging Keystone to go back to Colorado and expressing support for the rigorous science of the EPA’s Bristol Bay Watershed Assessment. Here’s an excerpt from a KTVA TV story: "There is not an example on planet Earth of a mine of this type and this size that has operated and not contaminated the water," said Lindsey Bloom of Juneau, who commercial fishes in Bristol Bay. "Until we can see an example like that somewhere else, why be the experiment in Bristol Bay?"
In a widely traveled AP story, Bristol Bay Native Corp. chairman Joseph Chythlook told a Keystone panel that he suspects Pebble has already crafted multiple mine plans but won't make them public. "Keystone's process was started by the very folks who want to develop this mine. This first of all calls into question how objective this process may be," Chythlook said
More controversy swirled when Keystone removed renowned fisheries expert Dr. Daniel Schindler from the panel due to "perceived bias," even though Keystone coordinator Todd Bryan called his dismissal "extremely traumatic." In addition, a second scientist, Dr. David Montgomery withdrew from the panel, saying that he believes it’s necessary to evaluate an entire mine plan, not just baseline data. The Keystone meetings continue this week.
In other media coverage, renowned Seattle Chef Tom Douglas announced his support for protection of Bristol Bay salmon at an event; National Geographic fellow Barton Seaver appeared on a Seattle TV show talking about why people should eat Bristol Bay salmon and why it’s at risk; and best-selling author Paul Greenberg did a radio interview with NPR affiliate KPLU, predicting that Pebble-like food vs. mineral fights will become the conflict of the next 100 years.
Shoren Brown is Bristol Bay Campaign Director for Trout Unlimited.