Last week, Alaskan Governor Mike Dunleavy initiated the process to appeal Pebble Mine’s denied permit. The US Army Corps of Engineers denied Pebble Mine’s permit application back in November, due to its failure to comply with the Clean Water Act. Despite enormous support for protecting Bristol Bay–the location of the would-be mine and a multi hundred million dollar salmon fishery–Governor Dunleavy seeks to resurrect the mine.
“The flawed decision by the Alaska District creates a dangerous precedent that will undoubtedly harm Alaska’s future and, any potential project can fall victim to the same questionable standards,” said Governor Dunleavy in a press release. “We have to prevent a federal agency, in this instance, the Alaska District of the Army Corps of Engineers, from using the regulatory process to effectively prevent the State from fulfilling a constitutional mandate to develop its natural resources.”
The ‘flawed decision’ that Dunleavy refers to is the Army Corps permit denial. The Corps denied Pebble’s permit under sound science and federal law, finding, “the project would likely result in significant degradation of the environment and would likely result in significant adverse effects on aquatic system or human environment.” Further, the Corps “concluded that the proposed project is contrary to the public interest,” Army Corps Alaska District Commander Col. Damon Delarosa said in a statement.
Yet, Dunleavy remains focussed on pushing this mine forward by claiming federal overreach. You may remember the Pebble Tapes, a series of videos uncovering the corruption of Pebble Mine. In one of the videos, Pebble executives bragged about their relationship and influence with Governor Dunleavy, “the Governor and I are pretty good friends.”
“Flawed can only be used to describe the Dunleavy Administration’s logic here. The science is clear that the proposed Pebble mine will cause permanent and catastrophic harm to Bristol Bay’s waters and fisheries,” said Nelli Williams, Alaska Director of Trout Unlimited. “At every turn, Alaskans have made clear that developing the Pebble deposit is a risk they’re unwilling to take. This appeal just goes to show Governor Dunleavy has lost sight of Alaska’s best interests and is out of touch with the people he’s supposed to represent.”
Save Bristol Bay is calling on us to call the Governor’s office and let him know that his appeal is irresponsible and threatens Bristol Bay. Bristol Bay will not be actually preserved until the surrounding land is permanently protected–we’ll see if 2021 can accomplish that goal.