OPINION: PLP makes a mockery of public process
On a cold, wet afternoon in Anchorage, 150 Alaskans stood in the rain across the street from the Captain Cook Hotel where the Pebble Limited Partnership planned to meet, chanting, "No Pebble Mine!??
As folks gathered I asked, "Why are you here?"?
"Alaska's salmon resource is more important than a few minerals?Salmon must be protected? We are pro-Alaska? We Alaskans must cherish our renewable resources? Pebble Mine represents the sure destruction of Bristol Bay's sockeye salmon run? This fishery generates 8,000 jobs, $450 million/year, and food for people? Water is Life? No Pebble Mine!"
"I have been a Bristol Bay resident 34 years? Salmon are an irreplaceable, awesome resource? Salmon are the culture."
Wildlife biologist? "Look at long-term impact versus short-term profits? We can live without those minerals? We can't live without salmon? These irreplaceable fish are important to the world? Pebble Mine has no place in Bristol Bay? Give Pebble Mine a final no."?
"It's crazy to do a short-term project and ruin a long-term sustainable resource."
Tommy Tilden, Bristol Bay Villages? "The salmon belong to the people of Bristol Bay and Alaska, urban and bush alike? Salmon contribute to the economy, state, national, and international? Fishing is what I do and love? Salmon feed the world, salmon feed people with heart problems? We must protect the headwaters of Bristol Bay? Pebble wants to mine a sensitive highland wetland? Pebble's own hydrology reports show when dye was put in the water at the mine site, that dye went everywhere? That mine cannot be built safely? Let science determine what happens.
"The Pebble Limited Partnership meets today behind closed doors? Let it be open? Let the people decide? The history of salmon in our local economy goes back thousands of years? Do you think a mine can be safely built in the headwaters of Bristol Bay?? Crowd? "No!?
"The people of Bristol Bay were invited to this Pebble Limited Partnership meeting? We said no, we won't participate? Our peaceful demonstration scared them away, and they changed their location."
Norm Van Vactor, Bristol Bay Economic Development Corp.? "Thank you for attending in this rain? I've worked this issue for 15 years? The people of Bristol Bay unequivocably oppose Pebble mine? We've endured one and a half decades of lies and deceit? Pebble Mine no longer pretends to have a public process, by reviving this conversation after fifteen years of the public saying, no!?
"This year Bristol Bay had an amazing salmon season, 58,000,000 fish, 37,000,000 commercial, the best year ever? I'm tired? We've been speaking out for 15 years? On this cold, wet Alaskan day it warms my heart to see you standing here for what is right."
Rick Halford, former State Senate president, "We are thankful for each other, for this amazing coalition that came together to say No? Pebble Mine lied to us over and over: "We won't build unless we have local support.? Salmon are the life of Bristol Bay, feeding the heart, soul, faith and dreams of the people? Worldwide, nutrients from the land feed the ocean? Only one thing returns to the land from the ocean? salmon? Salmon are an anti-gravity machine.?
"We know this? a mine in wetlands destroys the wetland.?
"Pebble Limited Partnership makes a mockery of the public process? They can't put their plan on the table, because you can't dig a 4,000 foot deep hole without draining everything around into it?