Pebble, opponents continue lining up allies ahead of permitting process

Nov 7, 2017

Pedro Bay village council signs on with UTBB, and Pebble taps former Univ. of Alaska president Ret. Maj. Gen. Mark Hamilton to head up external affairs. Pebble still says it plans to enter the permitting process this year.

The United Tribes of Bristol Bay announced Tuesday that the Pedro Bay village council has joined its ranks. UTBB now represents 15 area tribes who are aligned against development of the Pebble Mine. The community in Pedro Bay has been a stalwart opponent to Pebble, and in the past the village corporation has used its land holdings to put up roadblocks along the possible northern transit corridor. Now the council is lending its formal support to the fight.

“Our tribal members rely on the pristine lands and waters of Lake Iliamna and we are dedicated to ensuring it is protected for our community and future generations, said Pedro Bay Village Council President Keith Jensen. “By working in unity with other tribes in the region, our voice is amplified and strengthened.”

UTBB President Robert Heyano cheered the addition of Pedro Bay. “While Pebble is pretending to rebrand their toxic project and attempting to fool Alaskans, the opposition to their project is only growing and getting stronger. It is clear the people of Bristol Bay are not going to back down to this project and will do whatever it takes to protect our home.” 

On the same day Pebble announced a strategic new addition of its own: Retired Major General Mark Hamilton has been hired as the Vice President of External Affairs. Hamilton was the president of the University of Alaska system from 1998 to 2010, and spent 31 years in the United States Army. CEO Tom Collier has tasked Hamilton to connect with business, community and Alaska Native leaders about the direction of the Pebble Mine project.

“We fully expect Mark’s vision, his leadership and his credibility to materially advance our efforts to re-position the Pebble Project, to ensure it provides meaningful and enduring benefits to the people of Bristol Bay and Alaska, and to help create the social and political conditions necessary to permit this project in the years ahead,” said Collier.

Hamilton, according to a company release, “has become become increasingly concerned in recent years about the growing discord in America, and fears the ‘end of reason’ when it comes to public discourse about politics and resource development.”

“I believe in coming to the table to contest different opinions respectfully and honestly, and that refusing to hear the evidence that supports opinions contrary to our own signals the rejection of the dialectic and the end of reason,” he said. “That is where the Pebble Project, like so many contentious issues in American life, stands today. But I intend to appeal to my fellow Alaskans to rise above that caustic dynamic, and to consider this project based on its merits – on the facts, rather than on fear.”

dave@kdlg.org or 907.842.5281