Alaskans push back on Dunleavy’s Pebble agenda

(Photo: Chris Miller)

Press Pool

Alaskans voice widespread opposition to Pebble employee serving on state Board of Fisheries and overseeing water quality determinations

News Release

Commercial Fishermen for Bristol Bay

Alaskans continue to oppose efforts by the Alaska Governor Mike Dunleavy’s Administration to promote Pebble - most recently opposing the governor’s nomination of a Pebble employee to the board tasked with managing state fisheries.

During committee hearings held by the House and Senate to vet the governor’s appointees to the state Board of Fisheries, testimony was nearly unanimous in opposition to the appointment of Pebble Limited Partnership Director of Regional Affairs Abe Williams to the state Board of Fisheries, citing concerns about the clear conflict of interest.

More than 30 people opposed Williams’ appointment during the five-hour House Fisheries and Resources joint committee hearing on Sept. 3, and committee members noted that they also received hundreds of emails from the public. A week earlier, a hearing of the Senate Resources committee also drew substantial opposition to Williams’ appointment.

In addition, nearly 3,000 Alaskans recently emailed Governor Dunleavy calling for him to recuse Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Jason Brune, a former Pebble employee, from an upcoming agency decision pertaining to Pebble. DEC recently held a 30-day comment period on the state’s decision whether to provide a “Certificate of Reasonable Assurance” for Pebble’s major federal permit. That certificate is required as part of the federal Clean Water Act permit, and received significant opposition from Alaskans. Under Clean Water Act regulations, the state has until Sept. 22 to make a decision on that certification.

“The Dunleavy Administration needs to start listening: Pebble employees and supporters cannot be trusted to ensure our clean water remains for future generations, and Alaskans do not want them at the helm making decisions about our future,” said Naknek fisherman Melanie Brown. “Governor Dunleavy has shown his support for Pebble ahead of the interests of Alaskans time and again since he took office, and it’s time for that to change. A current Pebble employee cannot be allowed to serve on the Board of Fisheries.”

“We’ve watched Governor Dunlevy stack the deck with Pebble employees and supporters in key positions, and Alaskans and our fishermen won’t stand for it,” added Commercial Fishermen for Bristol Bay Director Katherine Carscallen. “There are clear conflicts of interest in the Governor’s choices. A recusal of Mr. Brune from decision-making related to Pebble and removal of Mr. Williams from the Board of Fisheries are the only way to restore Alaskans faith in these processes.”

About Commercial Fishermen for Bristol Bay

Commercial Fishermen for Bristol Bay is a national coalition of fishermen working to protect Bristol Bay, Alaska and the 14,000 jobs, $500 million in annual income, and $1.5 billion in economic activity that Bristol Bay’s wild salmon provide.

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