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Pebble Mine, Dirty Gold, and the Corporate War on Alaska’s Salmon.

[This article is cross-posted at The Huffington Post]


A lawsuit was filed today claiming that all Pebble Mine’s state permits violate the Alaska constitution.  Skulduggery surrounding Pebble Mine?  Imagine that.

On the receiving end of these legal accusations is the State Department of Natural Resources.  The suit was filed today on behalf of eight communities in the Bristol Bay area by plaintiffs including Vic Fischer, one of the drafters of the Alaska Constitution, and Bella Hammond widow of the revered Governor Jay Hammond who had previously said “I think Jay would first and foremost think of protecting that area, mainly the fish and the game.”

At issue is Article VIII of the Alaska Constitution, according to the legal documents.

Article VIII of the Alaska Constitution provides that state land and water resources shall be developed consistent with the public interest; for the maximum benefit of the people of Alaska; to reserve fish, wildlife and waters to the people for their common use; and to maintain these resources on a sustained yield basis.  Article VIII further specifically provides that there shall be no disposals or leases of state lands, or interests therein, without prior public notice and other safeguards of the public interest, and that the Legislature may provide for issuance of permits for exploration of the public domain subject to reasonable concurrent use. Under Article VIII, laws and regulations governing the use or disposal of natural resources are to be applied equally to all persons similarly situated. The Alaska courts have found that Article VIII requires the State to hold public resources in trust for public use, and that the State has a fiduciary duty to manage such resources for the common good with the public as beneficiary.

Steve Cotton Director of the Alaska Trustees states that the State of Alaska has violated multiple provisions of Article VIII, by issuing various permits allowing exploration of the Pebble site.   The permits, he says, are issued out of sight, and with no notice or input from the public. Exploration activity around the proposed Pebble Mine site has been ongoing and invasive.

Cotton says the State Department of Natural Resources has violated the law by not providing proper public notices and hearings about exploration activity at Pebble.  He says only one notice has ever gone out.  He told Fish Radio:

It’s the one and only notice the state has ever provided in 21 years of exploration at Pebble.  It was put up on the state’s internet site. It wasn’t’ mailed out, it wasn’t’ published in a newspaper – they don’t even call it a real notice. They know it’s inadequate so they call it a ‘courtesy notice.’ And say it’s not legally required and it doesn’t’ even mention the Pebble mine. And of course, many people in the region, including most of the clients in this case, don’t even have internet access.

Cotton says the people in the region “are at the breaking point,” and a lawsuit seeking a preliminary injunction to stop all exploration at the proposed Pebble Mine site until a judge rules on the case  is needed.

The current two year exploration permit that was issued earlier this year, allows Pebble Limited Partnerships to drill 425 bore holes – some as deep as 7,000 feet. They can dig 320 test pits and set 220,000 feet of  seismic line s– along where the explosions are set off – they can put helicopters in the air 24/7 making hundreds of trips per season, and they can withdraw tens of millions of gallons of water from streams and ponds in the area, without even knowing if there are fish in the water they’re pumping from. That’s’ a lot of impact. No oil company could get away with this level of activity without public notice and comment,  and without a searching public interest analysis by state regulators.

But Pebble Mine could employ hundreds of people for up to 50 years, the mining giants Anglo American and Northern Dynasty tell us.  They always fail to remind us that if the mine pollutes the surrounding area, (which every other mine of its type has done) the largest sockeye salmon fishery in the world will be toxic marine roadkill, and hundreds of jobs will be lost for potentially hundreds of years.

The mine has been decried by Captain Sig Hanson of Alaska’s Deadliest Catch, a host of scientists, The Renewable Resources Coalition and even five major jewelry store chains including Tiffany & Co., Ben Bridge, and Fortunoff.  Last Valentine’s Day, these companies joined others in the “No Dirty Gold” campaign swearing to shun gold coming from the Pebble Mine.

“We are committed to sourcing our gold and other materials in ways that ensure the protection of natural resources such as the Bristol Bay watershed. We would not want the jewelry we sell to our customers to jeopardize this important natural resource,” the pledge says.

Last November, Alaska residents were subjected to a massive ad campaign from an organization called “Alaskans Against the Mining Shutdown.”  We were told to believe that mining means jobs, and that mining jobs are better than fishing jobs.  Mining jobs, they told us, should exist despite the inability of the mining companies to guarantee the preservation of the Bristol Bay watershed, its fish, and those who depend on them to live and to work.

Pebble Mine is only one of the players in the corporate war on salmon that extends from Bristol Bay up the coast to the regions of Western Alaska struggling for their subsistence rights against the factory pollock trawlers decimating the salmon heading for the Yukon.  This is only one effort, and it will be fought tooth and nail by powerful forces with lots of money.

Thanks to the men and women who stand up to fight these giants, and to ensure that Alaskans have a voice.  We need every one of you;  the Vic Fischers and the Bella Hammonds, and the villages in the Bristol Bay region, and the people who depend on clean salmon and clean water, and those of us who will be called upon to lend our support as the months roll on.

It will take a concerted effort for Alaskans to see through the spin, and the slick ads, and look clearly at where the true resource value of the state lies.  We must learn to value the sustainable over the unsustainable.  Our valuable resources don’t just come out of the ground.

[Please keep comments on topic.  Off topic comments belong on the Open Thread.  Thanks!]



83 Responses to “Pebble Mine, Dirty Gold, and the Corporate War on Alaska’s Salmon.”
  1. Alaska Pi says:

    @83 CG-
    I fail to understand what you are so irritated at- though reflecting on my original comment I see a mid-stream of thought sloppiness on my part.
    So, to be direct-
    2- That area is the hereditary home of my mother’s people . I care about what happens there even though I live in SE AK.
    3- REGARDLESS of what the facts about what the mine are, people there are hurting economoically and are being lured by promises of jobs- whether in the mine itself or in support services. It does NOT matter, at this point, whether the jobs exist- or might.
    4- They are also under a constant barrage of negative rumor/flatout lie rumor mongering about how ‘environmentalists just want to lock up everything so they can kayak and enjoy the view”
    5-It is imperative that people there are supported in endeavours to make a living OTHER than in mining .
    Processor capability during the summer is flat and folks are left with the foregone fish problem or being on-limit at the peak of fish runs far too often. Friends in the area say it has to do with inadequate tender capabilty at times, fewer seasonal processing sites open due to high cost of running them for a few weeks a year, and so on.
    Folks have a few short weeks to make their entire year’s earnings in the smaller villages…
    We cannot just talk about saving Bristol Bay for the fish, we have to support the fish industry as well . ( I in no way mean the large corp fish industry either… )
    5- I am very excited about this suit and HOPE it is the beginning of a new way of looking at resources in relation to each other here in Alaska.
    I worry that we, as a state, are not yet ready to really face what we lose if Pebble happens even though some neighbors obviously have in filing this suit.
    6- I want to see us figure out how to keep way more of the $$ flowing into ALL of rural Alaska IN rural Alaska.
    This snippet from the report found at the First Alaskans Institute points to the sieve that is rural AK’s money situation.
    Whether dirty-gold Pebble joins the leach-resources-and-money lineup in rural AK ( I sure hope not ! ) or not , the fact remains that people who are trying to make a living out there ARE buying the bs from mining and/or factory fishing giants because WE have not supported them as neighbors who should have transportation interties, basic infrastructure, PRIORITY for alternative energy projects and so many other things…
    “Money Doesn’t Stick
    Figure 16 helps explain why the remote economy doesn’t produce enough jobs for residents. It estimates cash either flowing into or generated in the region in 2006—and it shows that most cash generated in remote areas never influences the local economy at all. And of the cash that does flow into the economy, a big share doesn’t stick around. The flows are approximations, based on limited data.• Nearly $18.5 billion was either generated in or flowed into remote areas in 2006, but only $2.35 billion entered the local economy. The rest went directly to other areas for producer profits; purchases of labor, supplies, and services; and federal and state taxes and royalties.• Of the $2.35 billion that did go into the local economy in 2006, $1 billion quickly leaked out again, because: (1) the many non-residents working in remote areas take their paychecks home when they leave, and (2) resident households and businesses can’t or won’t buy many things locally—and therefore spend money outside the region.’

  2. CG says:

    “Of course locals end up with the piddly jobs in great numbers… wasn’t disputing that”
    Yeah. You were. Here’s what you said: “only menial jobs being available for locals… that is not really true”

    Let’s recap and see if we can see the point –

    WHY do we want to develop the largest open-pit copper mine in North America (maybe in the world) in Bristol Bay, the world’s largest salmon-spawning watershed?
    ~ Because it’s an economic opportunity for a region dealing with financial hardship, a flat economy, reduced cash value to commercial fishermen for their fish, and the high costs of gasoline and heating fuel.
    ~ Because it’s financially lucrative for the State of Alaska.

    HOW is it an economic opportunity?
    ~ It’ll create jobs for locals.
    ~ What’s in it for the state: we don’t know. There has been no factual case offered to Alaska citizens or the regions residents on how it benefits the State. Taxes? Royalties? Don’t know. How much? When? Don’t know. Somebody, anybody, tell us.

    The JOBS – well, gosh. Those Bristol Bay villagers need to position themselves to take advantage of that opportunity. They need to think ahead. Move to an urban area (Anchorage, southeast Alaska, Kenai, Fairbanks, Colorado, etc.) to get some training, skills and geology and engineering degrees. If they can’t get a job at Pebble, they can still get a job somewhere else.

    Director of Site Operations. No, sorry, that’s taken. It’s Gernot Wober, professional geologist, Manager of Technical Operations for Northern Dynasty Minerals Ltd., previous Vice President of Exploration for Great Basin Gold Ltd., managed exploration projects from British Columbia to South Africa.
    Before that it was filled by Lena BrommelandManger Lands/Technical Services at Hunter Dickinson,Vancouver, Canada.

    Public Affairs. Nope, sorry. We’re not recruiting, but we’ll keep your application on file. We brought Mike Heatwole in from eight years as Director of Corporate Communications for Alyeska Pipeline Service Company. Before that he was a legislative aide at the federal and state levels, managed electoral campaigns, provided corporate communication consulting services to Alaska companies. He’s a board member of the Alaska State Chamber of Commerce and the Alaska Mineral and Energy Resource Education Fund.

    Other senior management postions, you ask? Those positions are filled.
    Mid-level administration? Well, no. There’s a huge pool of credentialed career industry professionals to draw from, none of whom are “local”.
    And if you did get hired by some miracle, you’d have to move to Anchorage, wouldn’t you. You’re not going to be working out of corporate offices in Bristol Bay, are you?

    From Pebble’s own presentation materials, 1003 employees in 2007:
    Alaskan 544
    Local 119
    US 243
    Canada 83
    “Other” 14

    34% of employees are not Alaskan.
    88% are not local.
    12% are local.

    Here’s what’s even funnier – I could not find even ONE open job solicitation on-line, for Pebble Mine employment. NOT ONE.

  3. Closet Mudpup says:

    An aerial photo of the Berkeley pit in Butte, MT. The pit is approx 1 mile long and ½ mile wide. The water level in the pit is constantly rising (it is currently almost 1,000′ deep), and is forecast to reach the level of the local water table in 2020. Since the water in the pit is essentially one very large sulfuric acid bath (pH 2.5), as it enters the aquifers, they will of course become unusable not only due to the acidity, but the concentration of dissolved metals in the aquifers will be equal to the levels in the water entering from the pit plus the amount additionally dissolved by the acidic water inside the aquifers. I think we need to add the word half-life to our discussions of mines to drive the point home that no mine is finished wreaking environmental havoc when active mining ceases. Ironically, they tend to become bigger problems after mining ceases b/c water is allowed to accumulate in them. Based on the track record of every open pit mine that has ever been excavated, there does not appear to be any way that Pebble Mine does not inevitably define the end of the Bristol Bay fishery. And Pebble is just the beginning – there are several more equally large claims filed on State land in the same area.

  4. Closet Mudpup says:

    To supplement the information provided by CG @ 75, this link is to the site Pitwatch, and has information about he Berkeley open pit in Butte, MT. The realities of the Berkeley pit are horrific – such as its 2.5 pH and its dissolved metals content being so high that the water in the pit is now being used as a source for “mining” the dissolved metals from the walls of the pit. It is one of the nation’s biggest Superfund cleanup sites – another example of the mining industry’s socialized costs. This is not the result of any major miscalculation of accident – this is simply what mines do due to the earth’s natural chemistry.

  5. Alaska Pi says:

    @79 CG –
    Here in SE Ak there is an actual hard rock mining curriculum…
    Folks who are taking/have taken it with an eye to Kensington opening are looking north to Pebble as well…
    Of course locals end up with the piddly jobs in great numbers… wasn’t disputing that… merely pointing to the EXPECTATIONS locals around mining projects now have… whether reality lies closer to “Everybody else, they bring in and hire out of an Anchorage office.’

  6. CG says:

    Alaska Pi: “Somebody here said something about only menial jobs being available for locals… that is not really true- AK has voc-techincal schools for mining …”

    That’s true. There are engineering and petroleum industry training programs at University of Alaska. Have been for a looong time. Since 1922, when UAF was founded as the Alaska Agriculture College and School of Mines.

    So? What does that have to do with the type of jobs Pebble Mine is suggesting will be available to the region’s villages?

    We know from 50 years of Alaska business practice, that when companies go in to deliver projects – construction, oil, whatever – they need locals to cook, housekeep and clean toilets. Everybody else, they bring in and hire out of an Anchorage office.

  7. Alaska Pi says:

    oh fooey-
    please excuse the typos and spellos @ 77 .
    I got kind of overexcited there…

  8. Alaska Pi says:

    I’m very proud of these Alaskan neighbors.
    We are overdue for a full and complete re-hash of what the state constitution can be said to mean as regarding the benefit-for-all language.

    Somebody here said something about only menial jobs being available for locals… that is not really true- AK has voc-techincal schools for mining …

    It is more important that most of the money flowing into rural Alaska flows right back out PDQ and this mine wouldn’t be different .
    We must support the ideas and activities which allow rural neighbors to thumb THEIR noses at projects like this . We cannot ask them to stay poor so others may enjoy the scenery which is what the mining corp folks would have locals believe…
    We HAVE to have investment in sustainable activites in rural Alaska and enough infrastructure to support those activiites.
    The foregone fish an or on-limit problems in Bristol Bay are affecting folks’ ability to fish commercially and provide themselves with the cash they need to buy food and fuel. the fish bigwigs cal ita small problem but when you earn your full years dollars in a few weeks it is NOT a small problem…

  9. CG says:

    Felt Soul Media spent Summer 2007 in Alaska’s Bristol Bay following the world’s largest run of sockeye salmon. Patagonia official sponsor.

    Red Gold An hour-long documentary, a fabulous dramatic watch, even if you have no interest in the subject.

    Audience Choice and Director’s Award, Mountainfilm in Telluride, Colorado
    Audience Choice, Banff Mountain Film Festival, Canada
    Best of Festival, Ellensburg Film Festival, Washington
    Cinematic Excellence, Newburyport Documentary Film Festival, Massachussetts
    Best Environmental Film, Taos Mountain Film Festival, New Mexico
    Best Environmental Film, Kendal Mountain Film Festival, United Kingdom
    Big Sky Award, Big Sky Documentary Film Festival, Missoula, Montana
    Best Environmental Film, Vancouver

    Red Gold is currently touring with Telluride Mountainfilm on Tour, Banff Mountain Film Festival World Tour and the Wild & Scenic Tour. Check their events calendars for potential screenings near you.

    Email for more information about screenings in your area, or to host a screening.

  10. CG says:

    Interesting stuff. Here’s some thoughts.

    Line items in the state’s computation of costs of “frivolous” ethics complaints include:
    Water quality initiatives: $12,747
    Litigation – ACW (AK Clean Water): $23,924
    The explanation is “66 Attorney Hours” and “139.5 Paralegal Hours”. 205.5 man hours at a cost $116.42/hour.

    So what was that? What did they do? We don’t know for sure, because it’s not really explained. But we can guess that it’s about the Alaska Clean Water Act (2008), Ballot Measure 4.

    Here’s an accurate and succinct excerpt from in August 2008:

    Mining vs. salmon
    Palin has come into criticism recently for using her post as governor to influence a ballot initiative on clean water, which voters also rejected last week. “Proposition 4” would have prohibited or restricted new mining operations that could affect salmon in the state’s streams and rivers, and was crafted in order to prevent the development of the Pebble Mine, which if approved would be the largest open-pit gold and copper mine in North America. Toxic runoff from the mine would threaten the Bristol Bay ecosystem, and put drinking water at risk. It is widely opposed by commercial fishers, native populations, and environmentalists in the state. While state regulatory agencies will get the final say on granting permits for the mine, the initiative would have made it considerably harder to move forward.

    Just days before the vote on the ballot initiative, Palin stated publicly that she opposed it. “Let me take my governor’s hat off just for a minute here and tell you, personally, Prop. 4, I vote no on that,” she said. Groups that supported the measure argued that Palin’s comments were highly unethical. They also filed a legal complaint against the state government for improperly weighing in against Prop. 4 on the state’s website.

    The Alaska Public Offices Commission ordered the state to take down the questionable web content, but said Palin’s public statement was permissible because she made it clear it was her personal opinion. Polls before her statement showed voters strongly in favor of the measure, but in the end nearly 60 percent of the public voted against it.

    “Conventional wisdom around here is that [her statement] changed the tide on the proposition, from narrowly passing to being defeated,” said Van Tuyn.

    I don’t characterize this as “frivolous”. She DID do something wrong – it was not intangible or difficult to determine, it was right out in the open – but the State of Alaska chose to let her.
    At some point, it stops being about Sarah’s accountability, and becomes the State of Alaska leadership and administrators’ accountability. Are we there yet?

    The State of Alaska promotes itself in a neutral stewardship role of Alaska’s resources on behalf of its citizens, and yet empirical evidence strongly suggests an interest in the development of the Pebble Mine.

    What is that interest? We don’t know. The citizens of this state, the “owners” of this resource have an unequivocable right to know.
    The state can support this project if it so chooses. But I want to know why. Instead of sneaky opposition to its citizens and attempting prejudicial action, the state might consider lining up its argument and making a case in clear, factual, meaningful terms and provide real information.

    JOBS – The only ‘carrot’ that I’ve seen published is that it will create jobs for the region’s villages. Okay. What KIND of jobs?
    What they mean, is that they need unskilled labor. They need kitchen help, maids, bucket-carriers and shovel-handlers. They need people to clean toliets and do the laundry. They’ll import the other positions. They do now.
    Employment with Pebble Mine does not mean management or skilled positions. Technology, computers, administration, accounting, technical skills, surveying, carpentry, geology, engineering – all of those roles will be filled from elsewhere.
    Not a good enough reason to dig an open-pit mine.

    Here’s some recent information from a conversation yesterday:
    “The important point is that the cave walls and open pit walls act as an interface for water, sulfide and air. It is the actual hole in the ground that creates ‘acid mine drainage’, as much OR MORE than the waste rock. The ore has sulfide and the surrounding rock (host rock) has sulfide, too.
    Removing the mining waste, tailings, etc. and taking it off-site, will NOT solve acid mine drainage issues. Underground mines are as much, OR MORE, of a risk for AMD as open-pit mines.”

    Here’s the explanation:

    “Thank you for forwarding this about the disastrous proposal for a Pebble Metallic Sulfide Mining District in the Alaska Peninsula. I have very limited time to respond, but I hope this helps.

    First, congratulations for grasping, and beginning to publicize the existence of, and the environmental dangers posed by SULFIDES, in the proposed Pebble project.

    It is easy to briefly and accurately describe the dangers posed by metallic sulfide mining so that anyone can understand it, as follows:

    A solid rock about the size of a softball has an exposed surface area that is several square inches. It will dissolve in water very, very slowly, and any chemical reactions involving the rock will proceed very slowly.

    If that same rock is pulverized, the exposed surface area becomes measured in acres, not inches. And chemical reactions involving the rock will proceed relatively quickly.

    When sulfide bearing ores are locked up in solid rock under ground, the sulfide weathers very slowly, if at all and usually poses no danger.

    However, when the ore body is mined, the sulfide bearing rock is crushed and even pulverized. When crushed sulfide rock is exposed to oxygen (air) and H2O (water), the automatic, inevitable chemical reaction produces sulfuric acid. Massive quantities of sulfuric acid. Sulfuric acid is the same stuff used in vehicle starting batteries.

    The amount of acid produced depends on how much sulfide is there, and whether it is exposed to air and water. It doesn’t depend on the percentage of sulfide. It depends on the total quantity of sulfide in the exposed, crushed rock.

    The sulfuric acid itself presents immediate toxic dangers to the watershed. And it also dissolves toxic heavy metals, which present their own dangers.

    That’s it, in a nutshell. Do not let up educating people about the dangers of metallic sulfide mining. And keep saying SULFIDE whenever you say mining and Pebble.

    The Wisconsin Metallic Sulfide Mining Moratorium Law…the law was passed by the state legislature, and signed by then-Governor Thompson.

    The law, however, was the culmination of a hard fought struggle between the grass-roots coalition (of Native Americans, sports hunters and fishermen’s organizations, local and national environmental groups, labor unions, scientists and engineers, and tourist and outdoor sports related business) on the one hand, and the multi-national mining corporation lobbyists, on the other hand.

    The effort to pass this law was inspired by a local school teacher who realized, from her research, that there had NEVER been a mine in a metallic sulfide ore body that had NOT resulted in severe toxic pollution. And so the coalition began to press for a bill that would prohibit ANY mine proposed for a metallic sulfide ore body from being permitted in Wisconsin unless the industry could show ONE suitable example of such a mine that had been operated for ten years, AND closed for ten years, that had not caused toxic pollution harmful to the watershed and the environment.

    The industry lobbyists had lots of power, and lots of connections, and lots of money to distribute. Although they were unable to prevent the Metallic Sulfide Moratorium from becoming law, they were able to twist and subvert some of the language. One thing they did was change some of the original intent described in the paragraph above by changing a word at the last minute on the floor of the legislature. That little word change had the effect of letting the industry use two DIFFERENT mines as examples for the requirement that a mine had to have operated for at least ten years and been closed for at least ten years to qualify for review. The industry lobbyists snuck that little wording change into the proposed bill at the last minute because they knew a law was about to be signed, and they knew there was NO METAL SULFIDE MINE IN THE WORLD that could meet that criterion.

    So, you see that the two conditions you so clearly highlighted in Wisconsin’s Moratorium Law were actually the result of last minute dirty tricks the industry lawyer/lobbyists pulled to help them make a loophole for themselves. (Despite this, they could not even later come up with examples that would fit through their own contrived loophole.)

    The most important benefit of the metal sulfide mining moratorium struggle was how useful it was in educating so many Wisconsinites, in a relatively short time, of the specific, easily understood dangers of metal sulfide mining.

    I hope you find this useful. I also have an article, titled “The 21rst Century Bite of the Gold Bug”, on my blog, which you might find interesting and also ominous. The future of high tech metal sulfide mining may not be so far in the future, and indications are that it may likely include on-site use of genetically modified organisms to cut processing costs lower, and increase profits.

    The article is easily accessed by clicking on the category “Mining” when you link to my blog.

    One last point, it appears to me (and it should be confirmed, as is important) that not only is the ore body of the Pebble deposit a sulfide ore, but the host rock itself is also sulfide-bearing.”

  11. Cassie Jeep Pike Palin says:

    Say NO to Palin in Politics

    Thank you…thank you. Much food for thought!

  12. Say NO to Palin in Politics says:

    I’ve not left yet, I came across a really neat web site. I think all the Mudpups will appreciate it. This gal is young and brilliant!

    “I got involved in the Pebble issue in 2005, when I read a brief article about it in the New York Times. I am a confirmed addict of the Alaskan backcountry, and with my husband I have hiked about 3000 miles of it over the past seven years. See my Alaska Trips. Southwest Alaska has been my favorite place on earth since 2001, when I first hiked down the Alaska Peninsula. When I started reading about the Pebble Mine project, I was dismayed to find that it was getting much less attention than such an enormous project deserved. And for those of us who don’t live there it was very difficult to find any pictures or any information on what this remote region was actually like. So I decided to go out and rectify the situation. I took a six day photography trip to the region in August 2005. And in June 2006, I took a month-long journey by foot and raft through the 500 miles of watersheds downstream of the proposed mine. You can find stories and photos from those trips. I have also researched and compiled an extensive set of facts on the Pebble project, and written articles on a few key issues.

    In January 2008 I will return to the Pebble Valley and follow the proposed route of the mine road to Cook Inlet, as part of a four-thousand-mile expedition: Journey on the Wild Coast.”

  13. Say NO to Palin in Politics says:

    last post……gotta run to the store, then visit friends. ta ta

    The Myth of the “Rigorous Permitting Process”

    The following testimony by Lance Trasky, former Alaska Department of Fish and Game Habitat Division Regional Supervisor for Bristol Bay, dispels the myth of the rigorous permitting process and is required reading for all Alaskans concerned with the future of the Bristol Bay salmon fishery. This testimony, reprinted her by permission of the author is proof that the permitting process is broken and in dire need of improvement.

  14. Say NO to Palin in Politics says:

    Would some kind soul post the links I’ve been putting up on AKM’s Huffpo article comment area. I’m not at home and don’t have my Huffpo sign in info. Thank you! The world needs to know about this stuff.


    Regulatory and scientific failures in mine permitting result in widespread water pollution, increased public health risks, and costly taxpayer-funded cleanups

    Anchorage, AK- New scientific research unveiled today finds that faulty water quality predictions, mitigation measures and regulatory failures result in the approval of mines that create significant water pollution problems. Despite assurances from government regulators and mine proponents that mines would not pollute clean water, researchers found that 76 percent of studied mines exceeded water quality standards, polluting rivers, and groundwater with toxic contaminants, such as lead, mercury, arsenic and cyanide, and exposing taxpayers to huge cleanup liabilities. The research, released by Washington, DC-based conservation group EARTHWORKS and Nunamta Aulukestai (Caretakers of Our Land), has major implications for the proposed Pebble Mine.”

  15. Say NO to Palin in Politics says:

    Renewable Resources Coalition is looking for volunteers for 2 upcoming events, I don’t see it on their web site yet, it was in an email I recieved yesterday.

    I’d help if I lived in AK, it sounds like fun.

    Renewable Energy Fair – Aug. 1 @ Delany Parkstrip (need one or two people to help staff a booth, good for newbee’s)

    Alaska State Fair – Aug. 30 – (free admission and parking) Wild Salmon Day, promoting Salmon as a renewable resource. 5 booths, they need lots of help.

    Also help needed for State Fair RRC booth, Aug. 27- Sept.7 (free admission and parking)

    New Volunteer Orientaion Aug. 15, 10:00 am, RRC office, 605 W.2nd ave. Anchorage

    email……Erika @

  16. Canadian Neighbour says:

    Found the video re my comment #68 –

    Safe for humans but no idea re fish. MSDS sheets indicate no info.

    If they didn’t research this one, and they are using something else, how much research did they do???

  17. Canadian Neighbour says:

    I recall watching a video a number of times by Dennis Zaki on the Alaska Report site wherein there was the discussion about some chemical that was being used on the equipment and the company representative had no idea what the chemical compound was. He said they had stopped using it at that time but they had used it before and he didn’t see a problem with it. There was no indication on the WHMIS sheets as to how the toxicity would affect fish.

    They had been using the chemical up until I guess they were challenged by someone. Shows how they didn’t research it completely.

    I just checked Alaska Report site and can’t find the vid.

  18. Say NO to Palin in Politics says:

    more good Pebble Mine info……

    “The Pebble is the tip of the iceberg here. New mining claims in the Pebble region in the past 12 months total some 1,000 square miles of state land. The 3.5 million acres of BLM lands, if opened to hard-rock mining, would be in addition to that. If this Pandora’s box is opened, we could be looking at a major industrial mining complex with many heap-leach and other operations, a complex of roads and all the industrial/environmental threats that accompany such developments.

    “This is the single most important environmental challenge facing fisheries today if you are a sport fisherman. The Teddy Roosevelt tradition is on the line: We are being presented a choice–wild fisheries and wildlife or gold. We cannot have both.

    “Ironically, (Alaska) Gov. Murkowski worked with the mining companies to change a state law that forbids dumping mine wastes in salmon and trout spawning streams. The new regulations would allow dumping of mine wastes into those streams to create “mixing zones.” If that happens, all the Bristol Bay waters would potentially be open to mine wastes.”

  19. Say NO to Palin in Politics says:

    Cassie, here is the answer to your question…….from the Stop Pebble Mine web site I posted above. The main ploy to get this flying is jobs, working for the devil.

    “Pebble Mine location
    The proposed Pebble Mine will be located on state of Alaska lands, not lands owned by Bristol Bay Native Corporation.

    The profits from the development of the mine will not directly benefit Alaska Native shareholders from the region.

    The profits from the development of the mine will not profit Native Corporations in a way that profits from the development of Red Dog mine are profiting NANA Regional Corporation and other Alaska Native corporations through 7i profit sharing.

    The only benefits to Alaska Native shareholders statewide will be potiential jobs that will be created. Not like the millions of dollars will be shared by Red Dog Mine and the potential Donlin Creek mine in the Calista region.

    The tax rate for mining in Alaska is so low that there will be little benefit to residents of Alaska.

    Jobs is the main selling point of the mine development. I can tell you I don’t plan on quiting my job to take a mine job. There are many good jobs on the slope. How many of those are held by people living in Barrow?”

  20. Say NO to Palin in Politics says:

    This relates to Pebble or any other area with potential for toxic disasters, grrrrr. There is absolutely NO reason to trust anything Scarah says. It’s all just cheap talk. This one happened on HER watch, she failed to do much to protect the waters then, why should anyone believe she gives one hoot about clean water, it’s not fiscal to respond to disasters. GAH!

    At least this guy brought it out into the open.

    “Other sections of DEC did very well, but the spill response group was miserable,” Meggert said. “The system absolutely broke down, and the worst part of it was the money situation.”

    Channels to tap into emergency funds and cut deals with contractors more or less closed, he said. Meggert was challenged to convince people in DEC that an emergency existed, yet he’s authorized to push the responders into emergency mode as incident commander.

    Those in charge of opening funds “did nothing but throw roadblocks up,” Meggert said.

    “Everything that could have gone wrong, went wrong,” Meggert said. “Nobody else viewed this as a disaster, except us (Meggert and another employee). I’ve been through numerous floods, the earthquake. I have done this before, and I have never seen a cluster like this before.”

  21. Cassie Jeep Pike Palin says:

    Thanks, Injuneau..I’ll do some skulking, too.

  22. Cassie Jeep Pike Palin says:


    Becasue if not, couldn’t that be a reason to stop the effort? Theft of a natural resource from the citizenry of Alaska?

  23. InJuneau says:

    Cassie JPP–not so much, as the royalty % on mining is much lower than the one on oil and gas. I think there was some move to update the law last Session, but I’m not sure if it got anywhere. Would take more research…

  24. Cassie Jeep Pike Palin says:

    Okay, I know on so many rational levels why this is wrong, wrong, wrong. I think most of us appreciate beauty and nature and think especially fondly of what we envision is the pristine part of Alaska–away from the duct tape (LOL).

    But I also have a practical question: will Alaskans share in the taking of this particular natural resource as they do with oil and natural gas. I’s really like to know the answer to that.

  25. Say NO to Palin in Politics says:

    post these web sites where ever you can, get the word out to fight this monstrosity.

    “Stop Pebble Mine is a group of individuals that have a stake in the Bristol Bay Region that want to preserve the pristine beauty and vast wilderness where the proposed Pebble Mine is to be placed.”

  26. Say NO to Palin in Politics says:

    here is a take action letter that the National Parks Conservation Association is asking we send to Salazar, Murkowski and Begich. Get on it Mudpups.

    “One million acres of prime wolf, bear, and salmon habitat adjacent to Lake Clark and Katmai National Parks could be opened to new mining claims with the stroke of a pen. Closed to mining since 1971, these wild Alaska lands are integral to Bristol Bay’s salmon-supporting ecosystem that is anchored by these two grand national parks.

    A recommendation from the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to lift this mineral closure and expand a modern day gold rush was issued in the last days of the Bush Administration and we need your help to send this bad idea back to the drawing board.”

  27. Hedgewytch says:

    It will take an all out, non-stop, no holds barred effort to stop Pebble Mine. It is obvious that the Palin Administration (and most likely Gov. Parnell) totally supported the project and will not work to help those against it.

    It is absolutely astounding to me that Alaskans could even consider trading the Bristol Bay fishery (and the rest of the irreplacable ecosystems of the watershed) for a few years of a handful of jobs for money going to an international corporation. And maybe the state thinks so as well, which is why they don’t want the public to wiegh in on the decision.

  28. Say NO to Palin in Politics says:

    Generating 99% waste to get 1% mineral??? Make the largest mine in North America for that?!!! Risk Alaska’s Salmon for that? Chew up Alaska’s beauty for 1% mineral? Polute Alaska’s water?


    here’s another video, longer than the last one I posted, good info.

  29. Say NO to Palin in Politics says:

    here’s some video, wow, the salmon are beautiful!

    This short film clip by Felt Soul Media frames the debate on the proposed gold mine at the headwaters of Bristol Bay in AK.

    Learn More. Get Involved.

  30. Polly says:

    If you get a chance, buzz up this article on Huffington or make a comment there.

  31. Dr. Patois says:

    Closet Mudpup@46 and Martha Unalaska@49
    Thank you for the information!

  32. akmuckraker says:

    Just cross posted this at The Huffington Post. Link is at the top of the article. Thanks for the nudge!

  33. Dr. Patois says:

    FYI Drift Lake Resources, Inc. trades in Canada as TSXV and in the U.S. as DLA.
    $arah’s shares have closed yesterday at $0.18 per share. It will be interesting to see if they have purchased additional shares in her final disclosure.

  34. Mag the Mick says:

    Here’s just a bit of history on the parent corporation, Anglo-American. Anglo-American was heavily involved in US Borax’s attempt to put in a molybedenum mine on the mainland behind Ketchikan. Same environmental issues at stake. Anglo-American’s first commercial success, back at the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries was Rio Tinto Zinc, a zinc mine on the west coast of Africa, where locals were enslaved and forced to work under deplorable conditions. One of the founders of Anglo-America, way back then, was Cecil Rhodes, a frightful white-supremacist who brought us – Phodesia. This is all ancient history, but any corporation that was founded under such greedy, destructive principles carried a great weight of bad karma and is not real likely to have changed much.

  35. Dr. Patois says:

    Martha Unalaska @ 48
    I don’t know that this is related but I thought it curious when Palin’s financials came out, one of the stocks they are invested in is DLA. I am guessing they bought in at the non-brokered rate of $0.05 per share. They have 5,910.32 share that at the time of the statement were still worth $0.05 per share. DLA is Driftlake Resources Inc., a mineral exploration co. out of Canada. The underwriter’s law firm is Cassels, Brock and Blackwell. Pinetree Capital is a large shareholder of Driftlake.
    Those who bought in at $0.05 are now (as of July 20th) allowed to purchase a matching number of share @ $0.10 per share.
    I wonder how the Palin’s came to invest?

  36. Martha Unalaska Yard Sign says:

    I just found an excellent site for photos of the region taken by a trekker, and links to the issues at hand. This is very well done!

  37. Martha Unalaska Yard Sign says:

    The “hook” should also be that Bristol Bay is a world class treasure. Too bad the town of Dillingham isn’t, but well you can’t have everything!

    I wonder if the Palins have invested in other ventures or property in the area beyond their fish camp?

  38. lovemydogs says:

    I posted this way back. My husband has been taking classes at the local college. Several of those classes are “safety” classes (like OSHA regulations, etc). His instructor showed them the plans for the dam that they want to build and mentioned that if there is ever an “accident” where the dam were broken it would release so much water that it could potentially take out 2 islands of the Aleutian chain hundred of miles south. His statement (because he couldn’t get involved in the politics) was (I’m paraphrasing) “I’m just saying, from a safety standpoint, I wouldn’t have anything to do with this project”.

    And that isn’t even talking about the fishing aspect.

    Many of us have no pebble mine buttons. Maybe these should be offered at the Mudflats store?

  39. Closet Mudpup says:

    John Shively, chief executive officer of the Pebble Partnership included this remark in his response to the lawsuit, “I think from our perspective we believe we followed all the rules and regulations that have served the mining industry well in this state.”

    So, apparently both sides are in agreement that the rules and regulations have been serving the mining industry. Precisely the reason an injunction is being sought.
    This from the Renewable Resources Coalition: ” The Truth About Pebble ”

    Northern Dynasty has already filed 1,900 pages of mine plans and permit applications for Pebble Mine. Here’s what their own plans put at risk:

    1. Destruction and draining of salmon habitat at the headwaters of the Koktuli River and Upper Talarik Creek.
    2. Destruction of one of the traditional calving grounds of the Mulchatna caribou herd.
    3. Stripping metals from ore with cyanide or other toxic agents that could wipe out Bristol Bay salmon with a single accident.
    4. Generating dissolved copper, tiny amounts of which can destroy the
    homing mechanism of salmon.
    5. Construction of some of the largest earthen dams in the world to hold toxic
    mining waste in a seismically active area at the headwaters of Bristol Bay
    salmon spawning rivers.
    6. Requiring taxpayers to pay for monitoring, and potentially the expensive clean-up, of some of the world’s largest toxic storage sites.
    7. Threatening 6,300 existing Alaska salmon-related jobs for 1,000 temporary jobs that will mostly go to non-Alaskans.
    8. Detonation of up to 58,000 one-ton blasts a year to create one of the largest open-pit mines in North America, driving residents of a nearby village from their homes.
    9. Threatening the efforts by fishermen to increase the value of Bristol Bay salmon by creating a “Pure, wild Alaska Salmon” image.

    All this from a company whose own documents state that they cannot be held to account when a catastrophe occurs because they’re a Canadian company.

    Local residents have waited, they’ve listened and now they’ve seen the plans for Pebble Mine – and 75% are now strongly opposed.

  40. blue moose says:

    a shout out for the Hammond Family. God bless you all.. Jay Hammond was the BEST!!
    Three cheers for the Hammonds.. We should have Hammond international Airport NOT STEVENS..

  41. AlaskaDisasta says:

    I am so sick and tired of these greedy “think for the moment and to hell with the next generation” people who have so desecrated so much of our planet, all in the name of $$$$$$$$$$$. Where we should have stewards of the earth, using enough but replenishing for the future, we have allowed the basest and most self-serving of our species to out-shout our valid concerns and buy off their (not our) elected officials. Not one of these base individuals gives a thought to tomorrow. Time to shine a huge floodlight on them for all the world to see, name names, and give the true Alaskans, the natives, the voice that they lost when we took their land from them. They managed to care for the earth without destroying it.

  42. NoPebbleMineEver says:

    Pebble owners, all foreigners btw…are ready willing and able to create the next environmental disaster to satisfy their lust for cash.

    They couldn’t care less about providing jobs…thats just simply an ugly cost of doing business to them

    How did these dirtbags from Canada get the least to begin with …?

  43. nswfm CA says:

    Also, too, Robert Redford’ Sundance is near former mining in Park City, UT. The first time I went there, the realtor gave me a bottle of water and said not to drink from the tap bacause of the water being contaminated by arsenic, etc from when it was a mining town.

    If you sh!t in your own back yard, you’ll have to deal with it. Maybe CA has some stringent enviro laws because 40 mill people breathe the same air, etc. And that bs about it’s SOOO hard to do business here is ignored by the people who want to do business with the 7th or 8th largest market in the world.

    Come on, there are better ways to get jobs in AK that don’t involve polluting with toxic waste.

  44. EatWildFish says:

    Pebble promises jobs for up to 50 years??
    Likely, people will have jobs far longer than that — swabbing up the toxic sludge and other chemical contaminants that will remain forever. Meanwhile, the habitat, fish and animals will be gone forever….. What a trade off.
    “Pebble” is such a small, nonthreatening word – but every avalanche starts with a single stone.
    But David also slew Goliath with a single stone — I hope all Alaskans will be inspired by that and do whatever it takes to stop the Pebble abomination.

  45. SmallSteps says:

    Dr. Chill – I second that idea of sending this on to HuffingtonPost.

    The obvious ‘hook’ for us in the lower-48 is that Alaskan Sockeye is the best salmon, & we can get it down here. It’s far superior to that Atlantic farm-raised salmon. I’ll check the next time I’m at the store, but you can always buy frozen Alaskan Sockeye at my local grocery store (Giant) and Costco. I think it comes from Bristol Bay. At least one of the packages says where in Alaskan the fish were caught.

    We need to get the word out. While “jobs” are important, the worlds natural fisheries have been in decline due to overfishing and other reasons. To put a mine like Pebble Mine in such proximity to a fishery like bristol Bay is horrible. We are not acting as the caretakers of God’s creation as we were ordered to do in Genesis (I think I’m paraphrasing, but it’s the general idea). Now for those who don’t live by the Bible that’s all well and good, but for those who like to wear their Christianity on their sleeve, I would think they would want to do what God told them, as written in The Good Book. (I say that with some sarcasm as most “Hi My Name is …. Christians” don’t tend to be “do as I say’ers not do as I do’ers”)

  46. Dr. Patois says:

    AKM, I was thrilled yesterday to see that this lawsuit was filed. Please let us know what we can do to support Alaskans in fighting Pebble Mine. Perhaps it is time for a different kind of Alaska Fund Trust, one that would provide financial support in protecting Alaska’s marine life! Protecting Bristol Bay is something that should concern everyone, not just Alaskans. I am happy to learn the jewelry industry is lending their support. Perhaps we can get the restaurant industry to lend their support as well. Nutritionists, the AMA, the American Heart Association, health food/supplement industry, dentists other industries who use gold or salmon, who else? Tiny, talented starlets? Let’s brain storm! Do the Plaintiffs have an organized body that we can work with?
    We want to help, let us know how!

  47. Greytdog Δ says:

    AKM, I tweeted this story – & sent the link onto Sig.

  48. InJuneau says:

    Diane–actually this mine would be EXACTLY in the headwaters of the bay where Buttercup and her family fish (and for which her oldest daughter was named, unless she was named for the ESPN headquarter town or whatever), so her support of the mine makes little sense in that regard.

  49. nswfm CA says:

    Tewise, I also thought you might need some Hollywood star power. See how it worked here by googling BHP Billiton, Malibu and Pierce Brosnan. I went to Public Hearings, provided educational materials, worked with other community groups, environmental groups, wrote letters to the editor and so did a lot of others, but the press didn’t really start paying attention til Brosnan got involved.

  50. LiladyNY says:

    #23 Dr Chill

    I thought I could get back to my garden and working on my ThighMaster (recommended by my orthopedic surgeon to strengthen my tricky knee – it works – go figure), but noooooo. Alaska political shenanigans continue to fascinate. And, in that amazing ripple or butterfly effect that such things have, it touches all of us everywhere!

    AKM, Mudflatters & LiladyNY = BFF!

  51. All l Saw says:

    Palin never concerned me much before she put on her “citizens” hat to support the Pebble Mine project.

    Didn’t we vote on that?

    It’s one thing to opine on a hypothetical – to do so believing that you are representing the majority. But to take sides when you are the most powerful – elected – official in the State of Alaska? On an issue that Alaskans have already voted on?

    My Dad is a big time rightwinger but also a conservationist of sorts. He cannot reconcile the disconnect between the “family first” Republican agenda and poisoning the waters and therefore the food supply that we feed our children.

    Sounds like Iran. People vote, the powerful people don’t like the vote – so they do what they were going to do all along anyway.

    Palin just doesn’t like having to ask for a job, those elections are just so… truthy.

    The only thing I can mutter when someone asks me my opinion on Palin is “she doesn’t represent me” – in nearly every way possible she does not represent me.

    As a born and raised Alaskan, I can’t remember ever encountering a woman of her ego and maniacal ambition. It’s just so…. un-Alaskan. Stepping on people who cared enough to support you doesn’t have that Alaskan feel to it.

    We don’t have to like each other up here, but we do have to look out for each other and Palin doesn’t like that part of “real” Alaska.

  52. regina says:

    Here are some posts with a lot of background info on Pebble mine:

  53. the problem child says:

    A mine is by definition a dirty, pollution-causing enterprise. A mine that has been established without proper attention to the permitting process is a nightmare waiting to happen.

    I hope an interim injunction issues, as that will focus minds and get this case in front of a judge much quicker.

  54. booboodog says:

    It is easy to manipulate people when they are out of work; also, too when they are not informed of all the facts or misinformed, in some cases.

  55. booboodog says:

    Sorry, Dr. Chill. I should proof read!

  56. booboodog says:

    Dr Cill advises sending this info the Huffington Post. I agree. Though this is not exactly a topic people outside Alaska would have too much knowledge about, what better timing with $p interest so high right now, many would be interested to know about yet more of her dirty dealings going on with Pebble Mine and bring attention to getting this out there. It is relevant to all of us.

  57. Martha Unalaska Yard Sign says:

    @ michigander

    Yes, I saw your post at Anonymous Bloggers, thank you! This is one hot potato so to speak, so I’m not sure whether we could begin to address this properly with a post. Victoria as you know lives in the Bristol Bay region, and she often comments that the mine proposal has not yet offered enough real science and studies for the mine and fishing co-existing – so there is a divide between those who want the work, those who want a heck of a lot more solid info before deciding, and those dead set against it because of the danger it poses to the fishery.

    This is why the mine works on the jobs angle, and the schmoozing of rural Alaskans angle – because steady work is desperately needed in most of rural AK. This causes divides and I’m not sure how well addressed these are village by village. It’s fairly easy to manipulate some folks when they need work!

  58. Polly says:

    @Dr. Chill – You are right- it is relevant – because the whole world depends on the quality of the Alaska Salmon fisheries.

    ok, now i really have to go.

  59. Lee says:

    pvazwindy Says:
    July 30th, 2009 at 5:37 AM
    This is the same consortium that showered The Palins, with gifts. Flew Todd over the site, and did whatever it took, to see the defeat of “measure 4,” which would have stopped its development, in its tracks. Remember Palin saying, off with my governor’s hat, I’m against measure 4. The former gov, never understood, the governor’s hat is always on. It was defeated.
    I remember Palin doing this, and AKM mentioned it at the time. It is another example unstatesmanlike conduct on the part of ex-gino. I am glad that this is coming to light again. Gold is something we can live without, but food is not. I wonder how many women have gold and diamond jewelry that just sits and is never even thought of in their later years? All that stuff is meaningless in the face of starvation due to pollution. Their priorities are all mixed up.

  60. DrChill says:

    AKM- You continue to amaze.
    Alaska is relevant even post Palin.
    I recommend submitting this to Huffington Post.
    Maybe this piece needs a more obvious hook for the lower 48, but most readers will see its importance to the environment.
    COSCO was offering sockeye salmon at $14 /lb so maybe HuffPo readers will see it too.

    Thanks for the great job.
    Actually I was kinda hoping that things at themudflats would slow down. With 40 corruption indictments in NJ and the NY legislative coup & stalemate, and other shenanigans in NY & NJ would attract my time & attention, but no, you make Alaska’s issues jump off the page.
    Thanks. Harrumph.. 😐

  61. michigander says:

    Martha Unalaska – Did you see my comment on Anon Bloggers? Is this something they could chime in on?

  62. Evelyn says:

    Wait a minute – aren’t our brave troops fighting to protect our rights? Don’t they have a right to come back to a clean environment? Don’t they have a right to plentiful clean water, untainted land, and nature’s bounty? Where’s the patriotism, Sarah? Don’t we have an obligation to maintain the integrity of the land the brave troops left behind when they went off to fight for our liberty?
    Or are they risking their lives only to put money in Sarah’s pocket?

  63. Polly says:

    @booboodog- I have some very pressing work to do today. But, of course, got sidetracked here. I am an admirer of Governor Hammond, and couldn’t resist giving information on him and his wife. Well, I really really really have to go now. Have a super day. And thank you for all your research and encouragement.

  64. Martha Unalaska Yard Sign says:

    GO Bella! I’ve been wondering where you are – we missed you! If someone told me I could adopt a second father, Governor Hammond would have been my choice. I’ll bet you hear that a lot. i had a big argument with hubby over Prop 4 (the Clean Water Initiative) because YOU I believed, and not the mining company spin. We agreed to disagree, and canceled out each others votes.

    We have friends in rural Alaska who would welcome the work, so I’m a bit torn there. But I have yet to see a mining company fulfill its promises and stay above board. Middle sis worked for a mine in Galena as a geologist for a short time, and I won’t scare you all with the chemical horror stories. The manager could not have cared less, and didn’t want anyone else caring, either. I have a friend who used to do the state permitting for mines, and he was full of stories about delays, deceptions, outright lies – you name it. Not all of the permits were this bad (I’m being nice here) but I sure didn’t hear much about how they were on the ball and wanted to satisfy the state requirements! These would drag on for years.

    There is no real oversight to speak of for mines, and since we haven’t been able to trust them in the past – I tend to be against mining in general. I don’t want to be the “greenie who wants everything locked up” – but Bristol Bay is a world treasure and is home to our most wonderful RENEWABLE resource. A few slips, or one big one – could wipe that out for years. We already damaged Prince William Sound – should we go for Cook Inlet and Bristol Bay, too just to even things up?

    If this mine were not in BB, I would have a bit more of an open mind. But when Bella speaks, I listen. She has fished her entire life. Go Bella!

  65. Anji says:

    Here’s the link to the No Dirty Gold Campaign

    Additional information on the Kennsington Mine here in Juneau as Couer Alaska seeks to fill Lower Slate Lake with toxic tailings. Kennsington Mine is to be developed in Bristol Bay one of the most pristine and “protected” protected areas in Alaska.

    I think consumers and resellers should all know where their gold is coming from and determine what the actual cost of gold is to future generations.

  66. booboodog says:

    Polly, oops, thank you…

  67. booboodog says:

    Are you STILL up? Or like me , sleep in short shifts? Any way, thanks for the info on the wolf-killing. It sickens me and I will be looking into it further. Back on topic, ARGH! The pebble mine is another pet peeve of mine. I haven’t read everything here yet (just saw your name and had to than you). I don’t know if anyone mention it yet, but there is a good site (I don’t know how to link yet) called Groundtruthtrekking. They are very interesting to read on a number of environmental subjects. Anyway, I better start at the beginning so I don’t get behind!

  68. mo says:

    what puzzles me about corporate mining jobs versus fishing, agriculture, and public parks is how the word “jobs” is always used to trump absolutely any argument.

    So who, exactly, wants or needs these jobs? People who are out of work, people who don’t like their current job (e.g., working as a tour bus driver instead of a logger), people lacking the trade or academic education to get much of any kind of job. People who feel impoverished and resentful.

    Uh oh…”resentful” – who does that call to mind? Who listens to Rush Limbaugh religiously, never watches anything except FOX News, thinks Reagan was an incarnation of the deity, and believes every word of the corporations=good, government=bad cant that rains down upon them from cynics who make a handsome living selling this pap? Who actually believes the slurs “enviro-nazis” and “big-eco”?

    Just sayin’, it’s all part of a package.

  69. Crazier In Alaska says:

    PEBBLE ruining Alaska’s environment…
    POLLOCK industry by-catch ruining Alaskan Native subsistence salmon fishing…
    PALIN ruining Alaska in general…

    One down, two to go!

  70. Polly says:

    Oh, for some clarification, Bella Hammond is half Yu’pik and half Scottish.

  71. Polly says:

    Here is a quote from Bella Hammond from 2007:
    “I don’t have all the answers about Pebble Mine, but one has to wonder if they’re compatible, the fisheries and a mine of that magnitude,” she said. “Before Jay died, he attended a meeting in the Iliamna area and he was quoted as saying he couldn’t think of a worse place for a mine. I’ll always remember that remark.”

  72. tewise says:

    Thank you Polly for giving us some history of Mrs. Hammond. It is a shame that strings were pulled to allow Pebble Mine Corp. to get away with skirting the laws. Hopefully enough people will back against the mine and stop this action. Maybe some of those very talented, small, polite Hollywood actresses can help out since they have already been condemned.

  73. Women Who Run With The Wolves says:

    I always said, ” She made history by being Alaska’s first female Governor…..but she’s NO Jay Hammond”. Having said that, even down here in Southeast Alaska, the Pebble Mine horror is on our minds. Our region seriously depends on our sustainable commercial fisheries, and we need to protect all our fisheries in all of our regions. Keep us posted AKM, we will come out swinging down here in Southeast.

  74. Polly says:

    It’s so nice to see Bella Hammond as one of the plaintiffs! For non-Alaskans, here is some background. – Bella is Alaska Native, and she and Governor Hammond were truly in love. They genuinely care for Alaska, its future, and its people. Hammond is from NY. He decided to move to Alaska when he was 25- flying an old plane. (Which is an exhibit at the Alaska Aviation Heritage Museum.) He and Bella lived in Naknek where he was “made” Mayor. He changed that fishing village from poverty to fiscal soundness – having a school built, etc. The Hammonds are a very modest, private family. Hammond was “forced” to run for office of Governor, he didn’t want to, but was pressured by the people. He was an eloquent statesman- well read, and philosophical in his thinking and speech. He obliged his friends by running for guv, never thinking he would win. His wife Bella never ever goes public, but you know she’s the family rock. For her to go public really puts the stamp and credibility on an important project! (For newbie Alaskans, I recommend reading his autobiography, “Tales of Alaska’s Bush Rat Governor, The Extraordinary Autobiography of Jay Hammond, Wilderness Guide and Reluctant Governor” for insight on our state and politics.)

  75. michigander says:

    I commented over on Anonymous Bloggers in regards to this – hoping Jane or someone will comment on here and let Mudpups know how we might help.

  76. Diane says:

    Palin was involved in this and she made no bones about who she supported.
    She fishes too, doesn’t she? I bet this is not in her fishing area either right?

    Perhaps since she hunts someone could remind her…
    We fish, therefore we eat.
    We eat, therefor we live.

    And no word salad!

  77. entlord1 says:

    Even from the Lower 48, this group sticks out like a sore thumb as an astroturf outfit with more than $9M contributed by the mining consortium and minimum contributions from the public. I noticed that their spokespeople were Jason Brune, Cynthia Toohey, Willis Lyford, Jim Taro, (founder), Bill Williams (founder), Tim Sullivan, and Renee Lemoge.
    Now i have just started looking up who these people are but it seems to me that several are former GOP state legislators. I also see a complaint was filed against them over their funding the opposition in 2008. It seems they used a firm that specializes in being a conduit for contributions to organizations so that as a third party, they stymie any investigator trying to determine funding sources. It looks like old fashioned money laundering.
    Just a few thoughts from googling “Alaskans against the mine shutdown”

  78. sdragon says:

    Is money & power always going to be more important than human beings & mother earth? Does greed always have to win? Good luck to all that are trying to fight these greedy, selfish, _______ you fill in the blank.

  79. pvazwindy says:

    This is the same consortium that showered The Palins, with gifts. Flew Todd over the site, and did whatever it took, to see the defeat of “measure 4,” which would have stopped its development, in its tracks. Remember Palin saying, off with my governor’s hat, I’m against measure 4. The former gov, never understood, the governor’s hat is always on. It was defeated.

  80. Ennealogic says:

    “I believe in puttin’ government back in the hands of the peeple!” repeated Sarah Palin on many an occasion. This story is a perfect example of just who she thinks the ‘peeple’ really are — corporate giants and corrupt state officials.

  81. LiladyNY says:

    I should think there are many environmental groups who are involved in fighting this.

    This misinformation and obfuscation is typical of these types of corporations. It is the same thing which is happening right now with the health care debate. It is heartbreaking and infuriating that those on whom we depend to keep us well and civil so often look to who is filling their pocket$ in the short term.

    This dirty business needs to be held up to the light of day and fought against with every means possible. Pebble Mine and their ilk are solely in the business to provide dividends for their shareholders and big bonuses for their top executives and the little people and the environment be dam*ed!

  82. yorkie says:

    Is there a way to form an entity to raise money to fight this? Can a environmental protection group get involved? If so, how can we get this to happen?

  83. John(Canadian MudPuppy) says:

    Employment is fine but what happens to nature and the resources citizens depend on for survival. I would rather be employed in another career than to destroy nature in my community. This is the problem in todays society.profits, profits and profits at the expense of natural resources.Good luck to all who care about their state and keeping their enviroments for future generations