ANCHORAGE – On June 26, at Senator Murkowski’s office in Downtown Anchorage over 150 community members gathered to demand action on Pebble Mine. Though Sen. Murkowski’s spokesperson was a no show for the meeting scheduled weeks ago, 8 stakeholders still delivered 14,000 pebbles to symbolize the potential loss of 14,000 jobs. The pebble deliverers represented a broad swath of communities, business owners, and industries that would be adversely affected by Pebble Mine. From outdoorsmen to college students to fishermen to Alaska Natives and tourism industry leaders, each had their own unique perspective on the threat of Pebble Mine but shared a cohesive demand: Murkowski promised us a fair and scientifically rigorous process and the Army Corps has failed miserably on both of those fronts.
Elizabeth Fitzgerald, a life-long Alaskan and fishing safety advocate explained clearly, “I oppose Pebble Mine because the DEIS was not conducted properly; it is a farce. This poorly executed and incomplete DEIS has been presented as if it were a legitimate attempt to assuage our fears, but it only proves the disingenuous and underhanded nature of this process. It has left us with more questions than answers. The only correct course of action is to demand truly rigorous analysis of this project before moving forward.”
Erica Madison a Bristol Bay commercial fisherman said, “Pebble continues to distract from the main business of the day in Bristol Bay: fishing. Salmon are a way of life in Bristol Bay, supporting subsistence, sport and commercial fisheries which are underway right now. Those fisheries should be receiving our attention, but instead, Alaskans are forced to worry about this project.”
The DEIS comment period deadline is July 1 and advocates for a more rigorous impact study are pushing for statewide comments in these final days and will continue to push Senator Murkowski to support a halt in the process. With the newly introduced amendment in the house, all eyes are on Murkowski in the Senate to stand up for Alaskans and demand the process she promised.
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