Alaska Native Tribes and Bristol Bay fisheries leaders applaud House of Representatives for Pebble Mine action

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

June 19, 2019

Contact: Alannah Hurley, United Tribes of Bristol Bay, (907) 843-1633, ahurley@utbb.org
Norm Van Vactor, Bristol Bay Economic Development Corporation, (907) 842-4370
Ralph Andersen, Bristol Bay Native Association President & CEO, (907) 842-5257

Alaska Native Tribes and Bristol Bay fisheries leaders applaud House of Representatives for Pebble Mine action

Wide spread deficiencies in the current permit review process call for a halt to the process.

DILLINGHAM, AK- Today, the House of Representatives passed amendment 90, being called the “Huffman Amendment,” to the Energy and Water Appropriations Act (H.R. 2740) bill that would suspend funding for permitting of the proposed Pebble mine in federal fiscal year 2020.

Community and tribal leaders commended the action, in the following statements:

Ralph Andersen, President & CEO of the Bristol Bay Native Association stated:

“The current review process for Pebble Mine is failing Alaskans and threatens our communities and culture. Local voices and concerns are being ignored, science is being shortchanged and the entire process is improperly weighing the risks of the proposed Pebble Mine to our way of life and jobs and fish. The vote today was a demonstration of support for the people and economy of Bristol Bay, and we are grateful. The Pebble mine shouldn’t get the special treatment they are getting and I am glad Congress took a good step toward holding them accountable.”

Norm Van Vactor, Bristol Bay Economic Development Corporation President and CEO stated:

“The Army Corps of Engineers should be asking the Pebble Partnership tough questions, and holding the public review process to the standard required by law for the benefit of all Americans. Instead they have chosen to simply fast track the Pebble project and cut corners on the process. They have failed to require the company to submit a typically standard economic feasibility study. They have failed to require the company to submit a plan for environmental cleanup in the event of a failure that jeopardizes our region’s fish and jobs. They have failed to even ask Pebble to present a plan for the worst-case scenario where a tailings dam fails and exposes the waters of our region to toxic mine waste. These kinds of answers needed to make an informed decision when it comes to Pebble mine and our future. It’s unfortunate that our own leaders aren’t standing up and making sure this process meets the standards Bristol Bay deserves and we are grateful other leaders have seen the seriousness of this situation and taken action.”

Alannah Hurley, Executive Director of the United Tribes of Bristol Bay stated:

"Native people in Bristol Bay have made their opposition to Pebble Mine known for over a decade. This is a decision that will positively impact our community and our way of life for generations. It has been incredibly disheartening to see the Trump Administration ignore past precedent and standards in order to push this toxic project closer to reality.

UTBB is grateful for this amendment. It will serve a critical role in providing oversight of a runaway federal agency. Despite our continued local opposition to this project, it is discouraging that our own Representatives in the Congress ignore our concerns and would rather tell us to trust a process that we are watching fail us every day, a process that is paving the way for this foreign mining company. We are grateful to those in Congress, like Representative Huffman, who have listened to our concerns and elevated our voices in the absence of own delegation, and we look forward to moving this amendment forward through the Senate."

Bristol Bay Native Association, represents 31 Bristol Bay tribes & is the regional nonprofit tribal consortium providing social, economic, and educational opportunities to tribal members.

Bristol Bay Economic Development Corporation represents 17 CDQ communities & exists to promote economic growth and opportunities for Bristol Bay residents through sustainable use of the Bering Sea fisheries.

United Tribes of Bristol Bay is a tribal consortium representing 15 Bristol Bay tribal governments (that represent over 80 percent of the region’s total population) working to protect the Yup’ik, Dena'ina, and Alutiiq way of life in Bristol Bay.