Videos released Monday show executives behind the controversial proposed Pebble mine have repeatedly misled and deceived Congress, federal regulators, and the public during their efforts to advance the project.
In response to the recordings, Trout Unlimited, Katmai Service Providers and business owners have called for the Army Corps of Engineers to immediately reject the Pebble Limited Partnership’s (PLP) permit application and for Congress to investigate statements by PLP and Northern Dynasty Minerals executives that contradict their permit application and suggest political interference at the Corps and the Environmental Protection Agency. Pebble Limited Partnership CEO, Tom Collier, resigned today due to backlash from tapes, but Northern Dynasty CEO, Ron Thiessen, who was also prominently featured in the tapes remains on the job.
The videos reveal details about the company’s plans to expand the mine, directly contradicting its current proposal, touting plans to mine for a minimum of 180 years (see page 2) despite public promises for a much smaller, 20-year mine, relying on currently-proposed and additionally-planned infrastructure. These expanded mining plans would greatly increase the project’s impacts to the region’s fisheries and waters, produce significantly more toxic waste, greatly increase the project’s footprint and infrastructure, and make it impossible to comply with the current mine closure plan or any future mitigation efforts.
The executives also describe specific details of the companies’ coordination with the Governor of Alaska and federal government officials to influence the permitting process. (see tapes 3, 4, 7 and 10)
“Every single Alaskan should be livid. These interviews demonstrate in no uncertain terms that the Pebble Partnership and Northern Dynasty Minerals have been dishonest about their true intentions. The companies put forward a fictitious proposal to the Army Corps of Engineers. Their statements contradict their own permit application, falsely representing their project, and therefore call into question the validity of the entire application and the credibility of its review. Mr. Collier’s resignation does nothing to change any of this,” said Nelli Williams, Alaska director of Trout Unlimited. “We are calling for an immediate rejection of PLP’s permit application because it is fraudulent. A full investigation by Congress is absolutely necessary – Alaskans and Americans deserve to know the truth. The process has been undermined by the actions of a foreign-owned company and that needs to be called out.”
Last fall, Tom Collier, then-CEO of PLP, said to the House Subcommittee on Water Resources and the Environment, “Pebble has planned a smaller, smarter mine” and has, “no current plans, in its application or in any other way, for expansion.” These videos clearly contradict his statement to Congress.
“Enough is enough. The permitting process has been compromised and abused by Pebble’s lies and deceit. It should be obvious to anyone now that Pebble was telling one story to get permits while telling another of a much larger, expanded mine to entice investors – thus jeopardizing even more salmon habitat and wetlands,” said Brian Kraft, president of Katmai Service Providers and owner of lodges in the Bristol Bay region. “The Governor has been a conduit for promoting the project, which is completely unacceptable and contrary to the public trust we place in our elected officials. It’s time for all Alaska’s elected officials to call for the Corps to immediately reject Pebble’s permit application, and for a full Investigation into the Pebble Partnership’s many lies.”
When asked what the Environmental Protection Agency—which is responsible for ensuring Americans have clean air, land and water—needs to do for the proposed Pebble mine to move forward, Tom Collier responded by saying the EPA just needs to, “Go outside and take a smoke, and we’re done.”
“Laws and processes were made to protect Americans and their property. This Canadian mining company has turned the permitting process into a useless tool by using political games and lies to obtain federal permits for a mine plan that is a hoax. There is too much at risk to overlook this unethical behavior. Pebble’s permit application must immediately be rejected and an investigation should be initiated to bring Pebble’s duplicitous behavior out of the dark and into the light,” said Nanci Morris Lyon, owner of Bear Trail Lodge.
Trout Unlimited is the nation’s oldest and largest coldwater fisheries conservation organization dedicated to conserving, protecting and restoring North America’s trout and salmon and their watersheds. Across the country, TU brings to bear local, regional and national grassroots organizing, durable partnerships, science-backed policy muscle, and legal firepower on behalf of trout and salmon fisheries, healthy waters and vibrant communities. We have worked in the Bristol Bay region for almost two decades along with thousands of supporters including dozens of businesses that depend on the fishery of the region. For more information on the Save Bristol Bay campaign go to SaveBristolBay.org or tu.org.
The Katmai Service Providers represents 64 Alaska fishing, hunting, bear viewing and tourism businesses that operate in the Bristol Bay region. Brian Kraft is the president of the KSP and the owner of two sportfishing lodges in southwest Alaska, one in Igiugig, Alaska and one near Dillingham, Alaska. www.Katmaipark.org