If we wait and see, it will be too late

Posted: Friday, February 19, 2010

The Pebble Partnership and its CEO John Shively continue to ask Alaska's to wait and see, to give the Pebble project time, and to let the process run its course. The recent fining of the Pebble Partnership for 45 water use violations, however, illustrates why we cannot just simply wait and see. These recent violations, and in a relatively small operation, bring to light the obvious flaws in the current process and show that it does not adequately protect Alaskan waters. Fines, after the fact, while alleviating some problems never undo contamination. These particular fines also confirm many of the concerns Alaskan's have about the Pebble Partnership's ability to safely proceed with this type of project in an area as sensitive as the Bristol Bay watershed, an area that is home to the largest run of sockeye on our planet.

I would also suggest that The Pebble Partnership's current tactics of asking Alaskans to wait and saying they do not have a plan yet, is simply that -- a tactic. As early as 2006 they released plans to build a 4-mile long earthen dam and more recently said they would have a two-pipe system that would transport partially milled ore, along with slurry, to Cook Inlet, where the ore would be loaded onto tankers and the toxic slurry sent back to the site to be stored. Sounds like plans are in place, they just have not been released. The Bristol Bay and Cook Inlet fisheries (yes, it affects Cook Inlet too) are simply too valuable of a resource to put at risk. If we wait for permits to be issued it will be too late. Alaskans deserve an independent scientific review of the Pebble project now.

Dave Atcheson


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