By SHANNYN MOORE for the Anchorage Daily News
What’s for dinner.
Really? You sure have been looking at that menu a long time.
“Stop asking me questions.”
So no plans for dinner?
“No. Absolutely not. But we’ll be feeding 2500 people dinner for five years. The tax and tip will be ballparked between $136 million and $180 million – and that would be on top of the $1.2 billion per year for groceries.”
How do you know all the particulars with no plans for dinner?
“Shut up. I said we don’t have a plan.”
That’s what the Pebble Partnership is telling Alaska about their proposed mine at the headwaters of pristine Bristol Bay. It’s a really good idea – but there is no plan – but if there were a plan you could count your chickens before they hatch, well, chickens before salmon stocks. The numbers in the above no-plan exchange come from an analysis for Pebble that estimates 2500 construction jobs, $1.2 billion in capital investment and wages and $136 million to $180 million in taxes and royalties. But again, there’s no plan.
The rhetoric is getting fevered again with the Environmental Protection Agency extending the comment period another month on the watershed assessment they released last year. Their findings showed that even if the mine was developed and operations went along without a hitch, it would still destroy up to 90 miles of salmon habitat. Bristol Bay is a series of watery tubes that supplies half of the world’s Sockeye salmon. Think of it like America’s bread basket – but with fishes instead of loaves.
So, a few questions for Mr. John Shively of the Pebble People.
How do you spend millions on a project with no plan?
Do the stock holders of Northern Dynasty and Anglo American believe there is a profit-bearing plan on the horizon – you know – a plan?
You, John Shively. recently said, “Will I stand here and say there will be zero problems with the mine? No. I’m not going to stand here and say that ocean acidification may not do in the salmon industry long before we do.”
Sir, your outside voice was on. So if there’s a race to destroy our salmon runs, you’re not sure who will win? Pebble or the acidification of oceans? Why not just root for the rapture to beat them both. How much science can one guy ignore?
You have filed multiple times with the Securities and Exchange Commission and told them Pebble was “financially viable” and “permittable.” When they ask for “plan” do you write “None?”
Glossy ads spun up to tell Alaskans you don’t have a plan seems pretty regular after so many campaigns and all, and the vast majority of us aren’t buying it. But the SEC has a different set of rules — like being under oath.
When you say that “Outside Interests” are trying to “stop development” in the Bristol Bay area, do you intentionally forget you work for TWO foreign companies – so you may not want to act like “Outside” is such a bad thing. And you might think twice before you call the same federal government which pays to clean up Superfund mining sites all over the country an unaffected party in the decision to put large-scale gold and copper with the potential to fail near salmon streams. Oh, and the six tribes who requested the EPA watershed assessment? They were “Inside” before anyone else had come here from “Outside.”
Here’s the deal, folks. If the Pebble Partnership has a plan – as they told the SEC and their share holders – then when do Alaskans get to see it? How can anyone trust their “science” when they can’t manage to tell those who hold shares in their company stock and the stockholders of Alaska – our citizens – the same story. They are spending $80 million this year to tell us how much we need them to do business in Alaska.
Oh, that’s right, they don’t have a plan… and they say that like they are bragging.
The EPA will take more comments about protecting the Bristol Bay Watershed. Alaskans should make their voices heard. Urge Senators Begich and Murkowski to support the protection of our salmon heritage and economy.