A U.S. senator is leading an anti-Pebble rally, a veterans group is running anti-Pebble TV ads and a commercial fishermen's group is thanking a different senator, Mark Begich, for his opposition to the proposed Pebble Mine.
Bob Waldrop, executive director of the Bristol Bay Regional Seafood Development Association, says ads will begin running Wednesday as a "straight up thank you" for Begich's decision to speak out against Pebble. Waldrop says it's not a political ad and is intended to provide "positive reinforcement" for Begich's stance.
Begich announced his opposition to the project after the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency released a report concluding that large-scale mining in the Bristol Bay watershed poses significant risks to salmon.
Critics of the EPA process worry the report will be used as the basis to pre-emptively veto the mine.
Pebble Ltd. Partnership is working to develop a large gold and copper deposit that is at the headwaters of two salmon-producing rivers. Pebble chief Executive John Shively says the EPA study is flawed and that developers should be allowed to seek permits that require strict federal and state reviews. If the project can't meet government standards, it shouldn't be allowed, but it shouldn't be stopped before then, he says.
Another round of new ads comes from VoteVets.org, which says the mine threatens thousands of jobs, many of which are held by veterans. The group started its television campaign on Wednesday and says it is spending $25,000 on a week's worth of ads in Alaska. The ads feature Random Reamey, an Iraq veteran and Alaskan from Dillingham who has fished commercially in Bristol Bay.