A couple weeks ago, our good friend and Sportsman’s Alliance of Alaska director, Scott Hed, gave us an informative update on the current status and threats of the Pebble Mine project, an open pit mine proposed to be built in the headwaters of Bristol Bay, Alaska.
Well, a lot has changed since the midterm elections last week, so today Scott is back with an update on what that means in terms of the fight against Pebble.
Post-Election Pebble Mine Update
We’re excited to tell you about some brands offering special products to help support the fight for Bristol Bay (stay tuned for a follow-up post, next week). But first a quick update on that fight in the wake of the recent elections.
Republicans added slightly to their majority in the U.S. Senate. Control of the House of Representatives flipped parties, and the Democrats will lead the House in the next session of Congress. This will offer opportunities to engage leadership of select committees with jurisdiction over matters that connect to Bristol Bay and Pebble Mine. With the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers proceeding at a recklessly fast pace (and unprecedented for a project of this size, we might add), we must work to slow the process down and make sure it relies on strong science and information rather than be driven by any political agenda.
Alaska’s newly-elected Governor Dunleavey is viewed as far more friendly to the idea of Pebble Mine. Control of Alaska’s legislature will also likely shift to a pro-development majority as well. Lastly, Ballot Measure 1 (aka Stand for Salmon) was defeated at the ballot box. BM1 would have strengthened permitting standards for large development proposals in fish habitat areas. The extractive industries collectively spent $12 million in a massive misinformation campaign, yet over 80,000 Alaskans still voted in favor of passing stronger protections for salmon.
What’s Ahead in 2019?
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will possibly be releasing the Draft Environmental Impact Statement in January for review and public comments. Obviously, you’ll be reminded to get your comments in support of Bristol Bay submitted. Thanks in advance for saying “No Pebble Mine” one more time.
As noted earlier, new leadership will be in place in Congress. Be ready to contact your members of Congress, educating them on Bristol Bay and the need for a robust, inclusive, transparent, and science-backed permit review process. Again, you’ll be kept informed on how and when your voice will be needed.