On May 11th, Alaska state legislators voted in bipartisan fashion to deny Abe Williams, regional director for the Pebble Mine Limited Partnership, a position on the state Board of Fisheries. The seat would have allowed him to assist in the management of Alaskan fisheries. Williams’ nomination for the position occurred in April 2020 by Governor Michael Dunleavy. This sparked outrage among Bristol Bay and Alaskan residents who were quick to voice their opposition due to the clear conflict of interest.
Prior to the 41-18 vote on Tuesday, elected officials spoke on the behalf of their constituents. Representative Bryce Edgmon explicitly stated that Williams was a polarizing figure in the community. Rep. Edgmon also shared that a historic collaborative letter from Bristol Bay Native Association, Bristol Bay Economic Development Corporation, Bristol Bay Native Corporation, Bristol Bay Housing Authority, and the United Tribes of Bristol Bay stated their resistance to Williams’ nomination. See Rep. Edgmon’s speech below.
The Legislature’s denial of Williams reiterates the unfavorable local attitudes towards Pebble Mine. It is also a clear display of successful continued grassroots efforts and the power of individuals’ voices. To help support the fight for permanent protection of the Bristol Bay region, click here.