Pebble CEO Tom Collier recently told anyone who would listen that “no one gives a rat’s ass what happens in Alaska.” So, it’s pretty clear the Pebble people don’t give a shit about Alaska.
The latest proof comes in a recent lawsuit – funded by Pebble – to stomp out the voices of Bristol Bay fishermen opposed to the giant Pebble mine.
Pebble’s goal? To intimidate and divide Bristol Bay fishermen so a Canadian corporation can dig a giant hole in the headwaters of the world’s richest sockeye fishery.
These types of bully tactics are not new. Large corporations like Pebble have used them for decades to squash local people opposed to toxic waste sites in their neighborhoods or oil rigs in their fisheries. They’re called Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation – or SLAPP suits – and they seek to intimidate and silence critics by burdening them with the high costs of litigation.
The Pebble SLAPP suit is a flagrant effort to stop Alaskans from protecting our wild fish resources. In fact, SLAPP suits run so counter to our First Amendment free speech rights – and they create such an unfair advantage for deep-pocketed corporations—that 28 states have banned or limited them.
And let’s make no mistake: the legal complaint filed against the Bristol Bay Regional Seafood Development Association is a textbook case of a frivolous lawsuit, plain and simple. It alleges BBRSDA illegally used funds to fight Pebble, beyond its statutory mandate.
But the fact remains, BBRSDA has broad latitude under state law, and it can educate, conduct research, and engage in a large array of activities around Bristol Bay seafood. And fighting the Pebble mine – which poses an existential threat to Bristol Bay salmon and the people and businesses they support – is certainly within BBRSDA’s legal wheelhouse.
It’s not enough that Pebble’s been lying to Alaskans about fish impacts, cyanide and mine size. It’s not enough that Pebble’s working with a group funded by the Koch Brothers to install politics over science in the permitting debate.
It’s not enough the Army Corps is racing ahead with a horribly flawed EIS that ignores Alaskan voices. And it’s not enough that Pebble CEO Tom Collier had dinner at the Governor’s mansion with ADEC Commissioner Jason Brune on the very night the Army Corps released the draft EIS.
No, Pebble wants it all. They want complete control to gouge-out the headwaters of Bristol Bay so Tom Collier can get his “extraordinary” bonus, up to $12.5 million, if permits issue quickly. They want to trade a renewable resource that supports countless Alaskan communities and families, in exchange for a massive open-pit metal mine that will need to treat its toxic waste in perpetuity.
But perhaps most importantly, Pebble wants to silence the fishermen in Bristol Bay. They want to strip the fishermens’ free speech rights, and bully anyone who dares stand-up to their profit-at-any-costs agenda.
As the old adage goes, “if you’re not pissed off, you’re not paying attention.” Pebble’s ham-fisted tactics are an affront to every Alaskan who believes in free speech, a fair process and the rule of law. So make time to speak-out, join your friends and fellow fishermen, and tell Pebble what they can do with their giant, toxic hole in the ground:
Homer: Thursday, April 11, 4:30-9:00 PM, Homer High School (RALLY STARTS AT 5:30)
Anchorage: Tuesday, April 16, 12:00-8:00 PM, Dena’ina Center (600 W 7th Ave) (RALLY STARTS AT 5:30)