Pebble Partnership Buys Alaskans' Signatures

No Pebble Mine Logo.jpgThe Pebble Limited Partnership, a consortium of foreign mining companies, is trying to buy people’s approval in an effort to combat the overwhelming opposition to Pebble Mine—a giant gold and copper mine proposed at the headwaters of the world’s greatest wild salmon fishery in Bristol Bay, Alaska.

Time and time again, Bristol Bay locals—along with commercial fishermen, Bristol Bay Native Corporation shareholders, and citizens state- and country-wide— have voiced their adamant opposition for the misguided project.

NRDC alone has generated over 1 million petitions of protest to Pebble Mine – provided freely – from our concerned members and activists.

Now Pebble is trying to cash in.

Their slick PR representatives have been discretely hiring signature-gatherers to sign a pro-Pebble petition. They posted a vaguely-worded Craigslist advertisement in Fairbanks, Alaska that tells folks who “like being outdoors” that they can “promote Alaska’s natural resource extraction and economic prosperity” by collecting signatures for an unnamed petition— for $2.50 a pop, with a bonus for over 500 signatures.

Similar ads were posted to recruit signature gatherers in Anchorage.

A number of students, staff, visitors, and faculty at the University of Alaska, Fairbanks signed the petition because, they said, they were bullied and misled by the hired signature-gatherers. Not only did signature-gatherers use overly aggressive solicitation tactics, but they also claimed that the petition would “ensure that an environmental review would take place before a mine at the Pebble Site” could be built. The petition (which conceals its association with the Pebble Partnership) would actually support allowing the Pebble Mine to bulldoze its way through the permitting process and ignore concerns raised by the Environmental Protection Agency.

That’s because the Pebble Partnership doesn’t like what EPA is saying. EPA recently released a scientific assessment of the Bristol Bay watershed that documents the potentially devastating impacts Pebble Mine would have on the wildlife and people that depend on Bristol Bay’s famed salmon runs. 

Instead of encouraging impartial science, the Pebble Partnership would apparently rather strong-arm support.

Many of the signatories felt distressed by the deceit, so much so that some even called the Pebble Partnership in order to get their names removed from the petition and proceeded to post anti-petition posters around campus in order to educate potential signatories to the petition’s true intent.

Alaskans overwhelmingly oppose the Pebble Mine.  Perhaps that’s why the Pebble Partnership has resorted to buying its local “support.”

But Alaskans aren’t easily bamboozled. Click here to add your voice to the opposition and stop the Pebble Mine. 

About the Authors

Taryn Kiekow Heimer

Senior Policy Analyst, Marine Mammal Protection Project, Land and Wildlife Program

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