Contrary to popular belief, the proposed Pebble Mine is not dead. In fact, the Pebble Limited Partnership (PLP) has spent years quietly hiring high-paid lawyers and lobbyists to lay the ground work in Washington, D.C. to overturn and undo the work of my community and thousands of Alaskans to protect Bristol Bay from this dangerous mine.
While the newspaper headlines and federal comment periods have quieted, members of local communities like Nondalton are living with the ongoing impacts of PLP’s proposal to build a massive mine in our backyard. As the closest community to the proposed project, we are firsthand witnesses to the consequences of PLP’s exploration. The environmental mess they’ve left behind is a constant reminder of the threat the Pebble Mine poses to Bristol Bay communities and their way of life.
Over the past decade, PLP drilled more than 1,300 bore holes into our surrounding lands; some over a mile deep. In the fall of 2015, our tribes joined a large Bristol Bay coalition in petitioning the State of Alaska’s Department of Natural Resources (DNR) to take a closer look at the impacts caused by PLP’s exploration after members of our community noticed problematic conditions on the ground. Unfortunately, we realized the DNR’s monitoring and inspection practices would be insufficient. So, our tribes decided to take this important issue into our own hands and find out what exactly is happening at the Pebble site.