Pebble Mine: An Open Letter to CEO, Wheaton Precious Metals

Bristol Bay coalition dismisses Governor’s claim of outside influence in Pebble Mine opposition, calling claim “demonstrably false” and “insulting to Alaskans,” vowing “we will never relent.”

Dear Mr. Smallwood:

We write to follow up on our July 24, 2019 letter to you regarding the wide range of significant risks associated with the proposed Pebble Mine, a project long opposed by overwhelming numbers in the Bristol Bay region and indeed one of the most widely condemned development projects anywhere.

Yesterday we learned that you may have received a July 30, 2019 letter from the Governor of Alaska suggesting that our outreach to you was a product not of longstanding Alaskan concerns about this reckless project but of “frivolous and scurrilous attacks” by the Natural Resources Defense Council. In a related news report, the Governor’s spokesman Mike Shuckerow expanded on this, further dismissing our letter to you as one of the “tactics [Outside] environmental groups use to discourage investment” in Alaska.

The notion that this letter or, more broadly, our many years of active opposition to the Pebble project is a mere “tactic” of “outside environmental organizations” is demonstrably false, insulting to the people of Bristol Bay and Alaska, and entirely at odds with the extensive record of our relentless battle against this project over many years. Even the slightest due diligence by any potential investor will quickly reveal that opposition to the Pebble Mine has been driven and led by those of us whose lives, communities, culture, and economic well-being would unavoidably be put at risk by this project because of the threat that it poses to the health of our incomparable fishery and the regional resources that depend on it.

We reiterate our offer to meet with you if you are seriously considering investing in this project—one with a history of abandonment by the world’s major mining companies in the face of the local and state-wide opposition that the Pebble Partnership and the Governor of Alaska now want you to ignore. What remains of the Pebble Partnership desperately needs money, and they are hoping now to ensnare you in the history of failure that has characterized this project for so many years. 

Make no mistake: We are committed to continuing our opposition for as long as it takes to defeat the Pebble Mine. We will never relent. If financial success is your goal, there are far better places to invest your money.

Sincerely,

Robert Heyano
President
United Tribes of Bristol Bay

Norm Van Vactor
President & CEO
Bristol Bay Economic Development Corp.

Mark Niver
Representative
Commercial Fishermen for Bristol Bay

Taryn Kiekow Heimer
Senor Advocate
Natural Resources Defense Council

Ralph Andersen
President & CEO
Bristol Bay Native Association

Tim Bristol
Executive Director
Salmon State

Scott Hed
Director
Alaska Sportsman’s Alliance

Bonnie Gestring
NW Program Director
Earthworks

About the Authors

Joel Reynolds

Western Director, Senior Attorney, Marine Mammals, Oceans Division, Nature Program

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