ANCHORAGE— Friday, in a stunning change of direction that calls into question the validity and legality of the ongoing Pebble Mine permitting process and Environmental Analysis, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers announced a new preferred road and infrastructure access route to the proposed mega-mine in Bristol Bay’s headwaters.
Until Friday, Pebble’s preferred route, the so-called South Access Route, called for construction of a port, road and ferry system, to facilitate a mine operating for 20 years. Today’s announcement of a switch to the “North Access Route” is designed to service a mine operating for at least 78 years, nearly quadrupling the scale and scope of the already massive project and dramatically increasing the potential for damage to Bristol Bay’s world-class salmon fishery.
“This is about Pebble pushing for a bigger mine under the guise of the smaller plan; this is a con game, a giant bait and switch, and the Army Corps is in on the scam: analyze for one option and allow for another. This is government in service to a foreign mining company and a betrayal of those who depend on Bristol Bay,” said SalmonState’s Bristol Bay Campaign Coordinator, Rachel James.
“Now is the time for Senator Lisa Murkowski, Senator Dan Sullivan and the rest of Congress to address the clear collusion between the Army Corps and a foreign mining company and call for a complete reboot of the environmental analysis,” said James. “This EIS process has turned into one giant grift and its victims are the thousands of Alaskans already grappling with massive uncertainty heading into the fishing season.”