Featured photo: Michael Melford
The Army Corps of Engineers began their public hearings in Naknek, AK on Monday for the Draft Environmental Impact Statement regarding the proposed Pebble Mine Plan.
At the same time that residents from rural Alaska make arrangements to speak out at these public hearings, our State Legislature in Juneau is proceeding with Confirmation hearings for the corrupt position of Jason Brune as Commissioner for the Dept. of Environmental Conservation – a key approver of Pebble permits.
Below we are sharing a few quotes from the public hearings this week in Bristol Bay ( courtesy of United Tribes of Bristol Bay ). These individuals can not be in two places at once to fight for the future of their lands and life ways. It becomes our duty to make sure their voices are heard and shared widely:
“It is a complete folly to think you can contain these proposed massive tailing ponds. Murphy’s law, if something can go wrong it will go wrong. Earthquakes, large storms, human error. Just look at mt polley. To date, nobody is being held responsible for that disaster, and they’re telling us this time they’re getting it right” – Martin Speak, BB fisherman who lives in Seattle. His boat is the F/V Little Moose
“The pebble partnership will be here 24/7 for decades, and will leave a massive toxic lagoon forever. And the state of Alaska will be left with the cleanup bill and responsible for its care forever” – Martin Speak, BB fisherman who lives in Seattle. His boat is the F/V Little Moose.
“Another concern we have are the short term jobs that pebble claims they will provide for the people of our region. We do not need jobs that come and go, we need jobs that stay. Commercial fishing is a big and sustainable industry for Southwest Alaska, and we know according to the EPA that the fishery could be negatively impacted if pebble were to be built. It is important to consider how important our fishing jobs are and that they will remain in our region if we don’t jeopardize them for unsustainable development.” – Joshua Baehn, a 17 year old resident of Egegik.
“I’m defined by and live for mostly two things in this world and that’s by my family and our salmon. The decisions you make for my region will affect those things for generations to come. What will the future look like to my offspring and theirs? Will our salmon and other renewable resources still support those that want to live here a few more millenia or will water degradation make it more difficult to subsist?”– Everett Thompson, Naknek resident and Bristol Bay commercial fisherman
“In the shorttime I’ve been able to skim over the draft EIS I’ve seen a lot of language like “not expected to” or “unlikely” to a lot of our concerns. I see a small tailings dam failure scenario rather than the worst that can happen. I see a small mine impact and not an expanded mine impact – or the impact other mine’s development can have. …I don’t see seismic analysis that will give me certainty that something catastrophic won’t happen close to the mine. I don’t see a reclamation plan that I trust knowing that many mines change ownership and end in bankruptcy and superfund sites. I see a polished, rushed report that favors development of Pebble.” – Everett Thompson, Naknek resident and Bristol Bay commercial fisherman