Bristol Bay organizations again meet Pebble proposal with skepticism
United Tribes of Bristol Bay
Bristol Bay organizations, tribes, and fishermen met yesterday’s announcement of the Pebble Limited Partnership’s proposal of revenue sharing with severe criticism, calling it a desperate attempt by a dying company to create the illusion of support for their toxic project in a region that has illustrated dedicated opposition to the mine’s development for over fifteen years.
The Pebble Limited Partnership has a long history of ignoring local communities, breaking promises, and trying to divide the region through lawsuits and attempts to buy local support. The company has continually disregarded the people whose cultures and livelihoods depend on Bristol Bay waters and fisheries. Today’s announcement is a clear attempt to create the illusion of local support by promising potential future dividends from a company that does not have the capacity to follow through on their empty promises. Local leaders were disturbed by Pebble’s latest move calling it “predatory” as it is clearly an attempt to exploit local people impacted economically by the COVID health crisis, with no realistic plan to follow through.
Pebble’s parent company, Northern Dynasty, is a junior Canadian mining company with no other prospects or partners, limited funds, and high debts. The offer of a dividend is particularly hollow given that the company has yet to produce an economic feasibility assessment showing that its plans pencil out. In fact, experts estimate the mine as currently proposed will not generate any revenue – let alone profit – over its proposed life time. Northern Dynasty’s materials for investors caution that there is no guarantee it will ever make a profit. But Pebble’s enrollment site contains no disclosures or realities of the project, hoping to exploit individuals and create the false illustration of “supporters” in the region.
Bristol Bay leaders made the following statements:
“Pebble is currently trying to fundraise to get through permitting, they’re broke with only $7 million left in the bank as of March and their deficit has grown to $415 million according to their latest security filings last week. Pebble’s CEO stands to get a $12.5 million bonus if the project receives its major federal permit and Pebble is saying they’ll dedicate three million a year to dividends until the mine is operational and profitable, where is all of this money coming from? It’s clear the company is just trying to promise future dividends to create an illusion of support but in reality they’ve never been a trustworthy company, they will say and do anything to try and force this toxic project forward that fishermen and the region will never support,” said Katherine Carscallen of Commercial Fishermen for Bristol Bay.
“As a tribal member it is easy to see Pebble’s true motives, they’ve been trying to misrepresent our region’s position on their project for years. Pebble will tout local support from those who sign up for the project, and actual payouts are a fantasy. It’s shameful Pebble is continuing their predatory tactics –to exploit the people of Bristol Bay into supporting their toxic project, when will they accept that our indigenous way of life cannot be bought and sold? As a shareholder, I am thankful our regional corporation and other native corporations around the Bay are listening to their shareholders and making sound and moral business decisions to not engage in Pebble’s desperate and deceptive plans to devastate our region,” said Alannah Hurley of United Tribes of Bristol Bay.
“Bristol Bay has long-opposed this project because of the devastation it will cause to our lands, waters and people. Empty promises of cash will not change our minds on this project. Here in Bristol Bay, we know that our way of life is more precious than gold, and we will not allow a foreign mining company to devastate our cultures and communities,” said Ralph Andersen of Bristol Bay Native Association.
“This is just an eleventh-hour desperate attempt by Pebble to make empty promises offering breadcrumbs to the very people whose lives will be ruined by this project. Breadcrumbs the company can’t even afford to spare as they’re going broke and desperately trying to fundraise just to get through permitting. We see through this desperation by Pebble and aren’t falling for their empty promises, Pebble cannot be trusted. Our resolve to fight this project is only strengthened by their disrespectful and transparent attempts at bribery,” said Norm Van Vactor of Bristol Bay Economic Development Corporation.
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.
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.