Opinion: Pebble mine would be bad for Alaska

When the delegates to Alaska’s Constitutional Convention gathered in Fairbanks during the cold November of 1955, they set out to craft what they knew would be an experimental document. Their work proved exceptional and has stood the test of time — our constitution expresses Alaskan values, imbued with the concept of an owner-state and mandated development of Alaska’s resources.

In many ways, Alaska was — and still is — a grand experiment. But our founding mothers and fathers would almost certainly not approve of the ways in which Alaska’s resources are now being experimented with, turning our valuable fishing and mining industries into a Petri dish for foreign developers to test their new technologies.

Before we go any further, let’s be clear: We are lifelong conservatives. Mark works an oil job on the North Slope, and Doug is a year-round commercial fisherman and mariner working both in the fisheries and in the oil industry. We both fish Bristol Bay in the summers and are passionately pro-responsible development. Heck, Mark’s snowmachined the Iron Dog three times and Doug has been working on offshore oil exploration in the Arctic for the last four years. Let’s put it this way, we both drive pickup trucks and don’t hug trees. We’re proud of that. And we are also proud to oppose Pebble Mine.

Raising our families in Alaska, we understand the need for a stable economic future here. The future of our state depends on good decision-making now.

The Bristol Bay fishery supports a rich culture and directly employs some 14,000-plus individuals. In fact, Alaska’s fisheries collectively remain the largest employer in the state — creating even more jobs than our crucial oil and gas industry. Our fisheries are the envy of the world. A recent study showed an annual input into the American economy of $1.5 billion dollars from Bristol Bay. With Pebble’s suggested 50-to-100-year extraction scenario, it’s proposed development creates a large risk with little return for our state and our nation.

Read the full story at the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner>>

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