Bristol Bay fishermen. Photo by Cory Luoma, Alaska Fly Out Media
October 6, 2015
Nelli Williams, Director of Trout Unlimiteds Alaska Program, (907) 230-7127 or email@example.com
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Pebble Limited Partnership funded report ignores key stakeholders, fails to address actual facts
Cohen Group releases report that distracts from mining companys failure to file for permits in Bristol Bay, Alaska.
ANCHORAGE, AK A bought-and-paid-for review of the EPA process to protect Alaskas Bristol Bay from the impacts of the proposed Pebble mine ignores science and predictably picks apart one of the most inclusive and transparent review processes ever conducted by the federal government.
Pebble Limited Partnership has once again chosen to spend its money on costly lawsuits and high-paid Washington, D.C. insiders instead of following through on more than a decade of promises made to the people of Bristol Bay to apply for permits, said Nelli Williams, director of Trout Unlimiteds Alaska Program. Alaskans have every right to be disgusted at yet another Pebble-funded attempt to discredit the legal, thorough and transparent process enacted to protect a unique and valuable Alaskan salmon watershed from what would be the worlds largest open-pit mine.
Notably, Williams said, the Cohen Groups report suggests that a traditional NEPA review process should have been used in evaluating mining risks within Bristol Bay. However, the report fails to note that the only thing preventing Pebble from applying for its permits and commencing a more traditional review is the partnership itself.
Even after being urged by Sen. Murkowski in a 2013 letter, which the Cohen report omits, and promising for a decade to apply for permits, Pebble has refused to do so. Given this series of broken promises Alaskans could not continue to be held hostage by a foreign mining company, Williams said. Trout Unlimited supported local Alaskan tribes, commercial fishermen and sportsmen in asking the EPA for a platform to talk about standards that would protect Alaskan salmon and the 14,000 jobs that rely on salmon and clean waters in Bristol Bay. Even Pebble-paid consultants now concede the EPA has the legal authority to preemptively condition or outright deny a permit.
During the resulting EPA process, 20,000 Alaskans weighed in to support the proposal to protect the region from dangerous mining and ultimately 99 percent of the 670,000-plus comments were in favor of protections and opposed to the development of Pebble mine. Americans have repeatedly stood with the tribal members of the region and made it clear they do not want to put the irreplaceable salmon resources of Bristol Bay at risk for a short-term mine.
The Cohen Groups report is far from independent, Williams said. It is Pebble Limited Partnership propaganda disguised as a credible document. Credibility is earned over time, and Pebble has proven for more than a decade that it cannot be trusted.
Trout Unlimited is the nations oldest and largest coldwater fisheries conservation organization. In Alaska, we work with sportsmen and women to ensure the states trout and salmon resources remain healthy far into the future through our local chapters and offices in Anchorage and Juneau. Follow TU on Facebook and Twitter, and visit us online at tu.org. Learn more about our work to protect Bristol Bay at savebristolbay.org.