The two mining giants behind the proposed Pebble Mine – Anglo American and Rio Tinto – are holding their annual shareholder meetings this year on Thursday, April 19, in London. As in past years, we will be there to testify in support of the residents of the Bristol Bay region who overwhelmingly oppose the project – Alaska Natives, commercial fishermen, recreational fishermen, hunters, businesses, conservationists, and many others.
Yesterday, when I arrived in London, the first thing I did was to pick up for delivery at the shareholder meetings on Thursday almost 400,000 new petitions of opposition sent by NRDC members and activists and others to the leadership at Anglo American and Rio Tinto. It’s a formidable representation of the widespread global opposition that the Pebble Mine project is generating – increasing steadily as public awareness of the project grows. With this latest group, the number of opposition petitions generated so far since our campaign against the project began over two years ago is nearing 1,000,000 – an astonishing number that we expect to exceed this month – and counting.
Yesterday, NRDC also ran a full-page ad in the New York Times, focusing on the broken promises of Anglo American and Rio Tinto – promises that they will only proceed with the Pebble Mine with the support of the people who live in the region. Poll after poll has shown consistent and overwhelming opposition in the Bristol Bay region – in the range of 80 percent. Last Fall, the residents of the Lake and Peninsula Borough approved a “Save Our Salmon” initiative that would effectively bar the project. But the mining companies have shown no sign of going away. (They’ve even challenged the Lake and Peninsula Borough initiative in court.) As today’s ad says, “what part of ‘NO’ don’t they understand?” And “it’s time to take NO for an answer.”
The fact is that, since we last met with management at Anglo American and Rio Tinto, the weight of public sentiment, scientific evidence, and legal argument has only continued to mount against the Pebble Mine. Take, for example, the blog post today from Robin Hayes, a Bristol Bay fishing enthusiast, former Republican Congressman from North Carolina and current Chairman of the North Carolina Republican Party. Or earlier this month, noted conservationist Robert Redford narrated an online video turning up the heat on Anglo American and Rio Tinto.
Our message is simple: this is a project whose promise is only environmental and economic disaster. The interests of all concerned – the region’s residents, the people of Alaska, the people of the United States and the world, the wildlife of Bristol Bay, and even the mining companies themselves – dictate that it must be abandoned.
It’s time to stop the Pebble Mine. Take action now.