New Pebble advisory committee meets indoors, while mine protesters gather outside

Opponents of the Pebble mine project rallied in Anchorage Monday, August 21, 2017, while a new advisory committee for the company behind the mine held its first meeting inside the Hotel Captain Cook. (Photo by Henry Leasia/Alaska Public Media)

While the new advisory committee for the Pebble Partnership met for the first-time in Anchorage on Monday, opponents of the Pebble Mine gathered outside for a rally.

Listen now

Some opponents of the mine, were invited to the meeting. But many, like Alannah Hurley with the United Tribes of Bristol Bay, declined because tribal governments have already made their position clear.

“Why would the people of Bristol Bay waste our time to do this again so that the Pebble Limited Partnership could pretend that they’re listening to the stakeholders, the people of Bristol Bay, and Alaskans. If they were listening, they would have been gone a decade ago.”

Protesters met outside of the Hotel Captain Cook, where the advisory committee had planned to meet.

But part way through the rally, Hurley announced that the meeting had been relocated.

“You all scared them away and they moved to a different location,” Hurley said. “They are literally hiding from Alaskans on the discussion of Pebble Mine.”

Pebble spokesperson Mike Heatwole said the private meeting was moved because the Captain Cook’s 10th floor conference room, where the meeting was planned, is under construction. Instead, the meeting was held at a different hotel downtown.

Heatwole said the company formed the advisory committee to include local perspectives in the conversation.

“That’s really to give us a range of feedback, ask us hard questions, potentially offer ideas that we might not have thought of and really kick the tires aggressively, if you will, on all the things that a development at Pebble could be – the social concerns, the environmental concerns, the economic opportunities,” Heatwole said.

Willie Hensley, who served in the state legislature and has long been an advocate for Alaska Native rights, is among those who have committed to sit on the advisory committee.

Heatwole said the company plans to release a smaller development plan this fall, along with a transportation design to get minerals out.

With a more favorable administration in Washington DC and an EPA proposal to withdraw a determination blocking development of the mine, Heatwole said the company is forging ahead.

“So the remaining goals are to file a permit by the end of this year along with having a longer-term partner to get us through that permitting window,” Heatwole said.

The 90-day comment period on the EPA’s proposal to withdraw their opposition to the mine ends October 17th.

This story contained contributions from Henry Leasia of Alaska Public Media.

Previous articleKetchikan floods cause some damage, have fish swimming on roads
Next articleHow could getting rid of for-profit medical insurance save the country money?
Daysha Eaton is a contributor with the Alaska Public Radio Network. Daysha Eaton holds a B.A. from Evergreen State College, and a M.A. from the University of Southern California. Daysha got her start in radio at Seattle public radio stations, KPLU and KUOW. Before coming to KBBI, she was the News Director at KYUK in Bethel. She has also worked as the Southcentral Reporter for KSKA in Anchorage. Daysha's work has appeared on NPR's "Morning Edition" and "All Things Considered", PRI's "The World" and "National Native News". She's happy to take assignments, and to get news tips, which are best sent via email. Daysha became a journalist because she believes in the power of storytelling. Stories connect us and they help us make sense of our world. They shed light on injustice and they comfort us in troubled times. She got into public broadcasting because it seems to fulfill the intention of the 4th Estate and to most effectively apply the freedom of the press granted to us through the Constitution. She feels that public radio has a special way of moving people emotionally through sound, taking them to remote places, introducing them to people they would not otherwise meet and compelling them to think about issues they might ordinarily overlook.

No posts to display