FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Ralph Andersen, Bristol Bay Native Association President & CEO, (907) 842-5257
Norm Van Vactor, Bristol Bay Economic Development Corporation, (907) 842-4370
Brian Kraft, Katmai Service Providers and Alaska Sportsman’s Lodge, (907) 227-8719
Nanci Morris Lyon, Bear Trail Lodge, (907) 469-0622
Alannah Hurley, United Tribes of Bristol Bay, (907) 843-1633, firstname.lastname@example.org
Carly Weir, Cook Inletkeeper, 907-235-4068
Nelli Williams, Alaska Director for Trout Unlimited, (907-230-7121) or email@example.com
June 19, 2019 (WASHINGTON D.C.) -- The House of Representatives took dramatic and much needed action today by passing amendment #90 to the Energy and Water Appropriations Act (H.R. 2740) bill. If passed by both chambers of Congress and signed by the President, the amendment would prohibit the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers from using funds to issue a permit for the proposed Pebble Mine.
The amendment, introduced by Congressman Huffman, was supported by 233 Representatives. 201 others voted against it, with Congressman Young opposing the amendment.
Alaskans from Bristol Bay to the Kenai Peninsula to Anchorage spoke out in response to the bill passing on Wednesday morning.
Ralph Andersen, President & CEO of the Bristol Bay Native Association stated:
“The current review process for Pebble Mine is failing Alaskans and threatens our communities and culture. Local voices and concerns are being ignored, science is being short-changed and the entire process is improperly weighing the risks of the proposed Pebble Mine to our way of life and jobs and fish. The vote today was a demonstration of support for the people and economy of Bristol Bay, and we are grateful. The Pebble mine shouldn’t get the special treatment they are getting and I am glad Congress took a good step toward holding them accountable.”
Norm Van Vactor, Bristol Bay Economic Development Corporation President and CEO stated:
“The Army Corps of Engineers should be asking the Pebble Partnership tough questions, and holding the public review process to the standard required by law for the benefit of all Americans. Instead they have chosen to simply fast track the Pebble project and cut corners on the process. They have failed to require the company to submit a typically standard economic feasibility study. They have failed to require the company to submit a plan for environmental cleanup in the event of a failure that jeopardizes our region’s fish and jobs. They have failed to even ask Pebble to present a plan for the worst-case scenario where a tailings dam fails and exposes the waters of our region to toxic mine waste. These kinds of answers needed to make an informed decision when it comes to Pebble mine and our future. It’s unfortunate that our own leaders aren’t standing up and making sure this process meets the standards Bristol Bay deserves and we are grateful other leaders have seen the seriousness of this situation and taken action.”
Brian Kraft, owner of two Bristol Bay lodges and president of Katmai Service Providers, said:
“The Corps’ process for the proposed Pebble mine is fundamentally flawed. The Pebble Partnership has manipulated what should have been a robust examination of real potential adverse effects of a mine located in prime salmon habitat. Now their lawyers are going through a system rigged to favor them; this process is not a meaningful assessment of risk. I commend everyone who voted for this for seeing through the Pebble Partnership’s deceptive actions and standing up for Alaska’s jobs, salmon and our sustainable economy that depends upon healthy rivers and habitat. Representative Don Young is out of touch with where Alaskans are on this, and it’s time for him to listen to Alaskans instead of a foreign mining company. I hope the Congressman reconsiders his position. It is a critical time for our Senators and Governor Dunleavy to speak up on behalf of Alaskans and demand a truly rigorous process that looks at the reality of what the Pebble mine would be in totality.”
Nanci Morris Lyon, King Salmon, AK resident and owner of Bear Trail Lodge said:
“The current process run by the Corps can’t be trusted and I am grateful Representatives from around the country are calling its legitimacy into question. I’ve been to numerous community meetings and reviewed the Corps documents, and the Pebble Partnership is manipulating the system to their advantage and to the detriment of Alaskan communities and businesses like mine. I urge Alaska’s Senators and Governor Dunleavy to step up and make sure this process is fixed. The current situation is unacceptable.”
Alannah Hurley, Executive Director of the United Tribes of Bristol Bay stated:
"Native people in Bristol Bay have made their opposition to Pebble Mine known for over a decade. This is a decision that will positively impact our community and our way of life for generations. It has been incredibly disheartening to see the Trump Administration ignore past precedent and standards in order to push this toxic project closer to reality. UTBB is grateful for this amendment. It will serve a critical role in providing oversight of a runaway federal agency. Despite our continued local opposition to this project, it is discouraging that our own Representatives in the Congress ignore our concerns and would rather tell us to trust a process that we are watching fail us every day, a process that is paving the way for this foreign mining company. We are grateful to those in Congress, like Representative Huffman, who have listened to our concerns and elevated our voices in the absence of own delegation, and we look forward to moving this amendment forward through the Senate."
Carly Weir, Homer, AK resident and Executive Director at Cook Inletkeeper responds:
“Alaska's Bristol Bay is a global treasure, holding the world's largest wild sockeye salmon fishery that sustains our local communities and economies in the region. The Army Corps of Engineers should be embarrassed by the sloppy analysis we were given in their EIS. We deserve better, and we are grateful to Congress for hearing our voices when our own delegation seems to be ignoring us. We hope that Lisa Murkowski can do the right thing and stand with Tribes, commercial fisherman, scientists and citizens of Alaska to protect Bristol Bay. The whole world is watching.”
Polly Carr, Executive Director of the Alaska Center in Anchorage said:
“Since we cannot rely on the Army Corps or the Pebble Partnership to be fair and thorough, we must rely on members of Congress to stand with Alaskans and question this flawed and deceptive permitting process.”
Nelli Williams, Anchorage resident an Alaska director of Trout Unlimited, said:
“Alaskans have raised dozens of flaws with the current review process over the past year. The project review process is far from robust and is being driven by special interests instead of science. The process should be stopped until these issues can be resolved.”