In the nicest terms possible, Pebble Partnership says POLITICO got it wrong - Must Read Alaska
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Monday, September 28, 2020
HomeThe 907In the nicest terms possible, Pebble Partnership says POLITICO got it wrong

In the nicest terms possible, Pebble Partnership says POLITICO got it wrong

A story in a leading political blog says that the Trump Administration is about to put a dagger through the heart of the Pebble Project.

“The Trump administration is planning to block the proposed Pebble Mine in Alaska early next week, six people familiar with the plans told POLITICO, marking a surprise reversal that could be the death knell for the massive copper and gold project,” POLITICO wrote.

Calling the story wrong in that it was based on a “false report [that] surfaced Saturday morning,” the Pebble Partnership says the project is moving forward as expected.

“We firmly believe that the implication pushed by Politico that the White House is going to kill the project is clearly in error, likely made by a rush to publish rather than doing the necessary diligence to track down the full story,” said CEO Tom Collier. “We categorically deny any reports that the Trump Administration is going to return to an Obama-like approach that allowed politics to interfere with the normal, traditional permitting process. This president clearly believes in keeping politics out of permitting – something conservatives and the business community fully support.”

Collier added that the company was told the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is going to publish a letter Monday about the status of the “mitigation” of the project. Mitigation generally involves the sideboards put on a project and the protections for the environment that must be in place.

POLITICO wrote that the Army Corps of Engineers office in Alaska plans to hold a conference call Monday with groups associated with the proposed mine to “discuss the decision,” and cited three people “with knowledge of the call. An administration official confirmed the call with POLITICO.”

No such meeting has been announced. Generally, reporters are notified of media availabilities.

“Based upon our ongoing interaction with the USACE, we believe the letter will discuss the need for a significant amount of mitigation for the project’s wetlands impacts. This has been our working premise for quite some time and has been the focus of our recent efforts near the site to complete additional wetlands survey work to better inform our plan. The process and time needed to develop a comprehensive wetlands mitigation plan might result in a slight delay beyond earlier USACE milestones. However, at this time we do not believe this is the case and we will be working with the corps to get them what they need as soon as possible,” Collier said.

The Pebble Project is vastly different than the one originally proposed, but it is still a rallying cry for environmentalists who seek to stop the proposed gold mine, which they say will harm the Bristol Bay fishery.

“We know there are some who do not support the USACE’s findings but just because people don’t like the USACE conclusions does not mean their work has not been thorough,” Collier said.

Recently, Donald Trump Jr. on Twitter said he was opposed to the Pebble Project, raising the hopes of environmental industry advocates that he would be persuasive with his father, the president.

Politico changed its story on Saturday evening after receiving written comments from Collier.

Read the Politico story at this link.

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Suzanne Downing had careers in business and journalism before serving as the Director of Faith and Community-based Initiatives for Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and returning to Alaska to serve as speechwriter for Gov. Sean Parnell. Born on the Oregon coast, she moved to Alaska in 1969.

Latest comments

  • Thank you Suzanne for all you do! As always your fair and unbiased in your reporting! Unlike Politico and others who report false narratives I trust your reporting above all others!

    • Fair and unbiased in the “Fox” sense of the word. Note that the article is based upon the statements forwarded by Tom Collier (oh, the irony in that name), who stands to score several millions personally if Pebble gets past the approvals stage. Is he fair and unbiased?
      Looks like Gullible’s Travels to me.

  • I don’t live in your state but you seem to always tell it like it is. Cronkite and so many others used to so long ago. Now the big boy news agencies are all slinging “Bovine Scattology” to suit their owners agenda. Bravo Suzanne!!

    • Walter was a liberal hack during the Vietnam war. Just so you know the truth on that.

      • Riiiiiiiight. And also the most respected name in the business.

  • You can label me and 60% ofAlaskans “environmentalists” if it makes you feel good. But I am like most of the others too leery of what will be lost by a foreign corporations desire to wrest our minerals from a place they have no vested interest in preserving.

    • So, leaving minerals untouched and keeping Alaska in economic peril is preferable to seeing a large outside company profit from it’s risk taking investment? Huh, were you against the pipeline? Canneries? Tourism? Obviously every development project in Alaska is financed by outside interests.

    • What rot. The only reason this requires a foreign corporation is because you greens have done your level best to destroy the capability of US corporations to mine in the US. Should Northern Dynasty be a Lower 48-based company, I expect your complaint would be that they are not Alaskan.

      If 60% of of Alaskans did not support Pebble, it would not proceed. And you guys would not have had to destroy both the science and permitting process to oppose it. Even Bob Gillam’s multiple anti-Pebble ballot initiatives only successfully passed one, and that one allows the legislature to sign off on the mine before it proceeds. Be careful what you wish for.

      The Big Lie in all of this remains, the notion that any mine in the region will destroy all fish in the region for all time. Apparently this same concern doesn’t apply to Donlin Creek, Red Dog, Fort Knox, Pogo or Usibelli. If this is such a slam dunk, why do you guys have to lie? Cheers –

      • Agimarc, Good point! What goes unmentioned by opponents of Pebble is the good environmental record of Major Alaskan mines. The Kensington mine had to go all the way to US Supreme court to get it’s permit approved.

        I knew a fella, a NOAA scientist who although in opposition to the Kensington mine concluded that the mine tailing pond water was better than the water flowing out of the three glacier fed rivers adjacent to the mine. He came to that conclusion by growing fragile Sea Urchins in samples of all four water sheds. Years ago I had a project at greens Creek Mine. An EPA inspector arrived one day to test mine mill water discharge quality. His water quality tests showed that the mine was releasing above allowable limits of arsenic back into Greens Creek. After being taken upstream from the mine discharge he sampled water from the creek and was shocked to discover that the native creek water had a much higher arsenic content than the mill discharge. Seems the milling process actually scrubbed out the heavy metal. Go figure…

  • This poses a real problem for Trump in AK. Going along with this risks alienating his supporters here in AK. His campaign here in the state needs to pay close attention to this.

    Multiple efforts to contact Tucker Carlson and present an alternate view have been ignored. Sadly, both he and Trump Jr are buying into the Big Lie associated with Pebble – that any mine will destroy all fish in the region for all time, something patently false. Cheers –

    • If the objective was to kill all of the sockeye in the Bay, Pebble Mine is incapable of accomplishing that.

      • Perhaps, but it would be a great head start. To repeat, no mine (sulfide) of this type has ever failed to destroy the environment in which it has been built. True, the land and water are still there, but life is not.

  • The Pebble Mine will be mined and the Lake and Pen area will benefit the most from that development. The complete hysteria being promoted by some residents of Bristol Bay in attempts to delegitimize a perfectly legal commercial enterprise, after taking advantage to the boon to the area during the exploration process, is proof of the hypocrisy that is rife in this state where profits and entitlement collide.

  • If true, this will cost Trump some votes and earn him none.

  • As I understand it, the surface and subsurface estates upon which a Pebble would be located are owned by that State of Alaska. These lands were selected by the State pursuant to the Statehood Act. Further, the lands were selected primarily for their resource development potential. Opposition to Pebble has always been about preventing economic, i.e. resource, development in and of Alaska. The environmentalists will never stop in this effort and will recruit anyone they can in this cause.

  • A story well written and not sensationalized… like the one written on Channel 2. Thank you Suzanne

  • If the White House changes hands come November we will not see projects like Pebble and Ambler receive a fair process, and they will die. We will not see ANWR, and NPRA will become quiet. Alaskans with name recognition who could possibly change the outcome in swing states need to go there! Dunleavy should be speaking in PA. Sullivan needs to swing through OH (after all, Av Gross Jr. is really not a threat). etc. etc. Remember, as late in the 2016 election as October the major TV networks were telling us there was no arithmetic that could get to 270 for Donald J. Trump. A band of states that begins in FL and extends north to WI and MN may determine the economic future of Alaska extending at least through the coming 30 years. You can bet the people who want to lock up Alaska are doing that!

  • Kubota2,

    I sure hope those in a position to take your advise take note. Alaska needs Trump as well as the private working class and businesses owners. We are essential! We want to work and achieve.

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