In this July 13, 2007, file photo, workers with the Pebble Mine project test drill in the Bristol Bay region of Alaska, near the village of Iliamma. (AP Photo / Al Grillo)

Dunleavy: State will appeal Pebble decision

Gov: Army Corps decision has far-reaching implications

The state of Alaska will appeal an Army Corp of Engineers decision not to issue a permit for the proposed gold and copper mine near Bristol Bay, Gov. Mike Dunleavy’s office announced Friday afternoon.

“The flawed decision by the Alaska District creates a dangerous precedent that will undoubtedly harm Alaska’s future and, any potential project can fall victim to the same questionable standards,” Dunleavy said in a statement. “The decision has far-reaching and ominous implications for our rights as a state to develop our resources for the benefit of all Alaskans, whether it’s mineral deposits like Pebble, or oil and gas on the North Slope.”

Permits for the long-contested mine were denied in November with the Corps saying the mine was “contrary to the public interest,” according to the Associated Press. The mine’s proposed location is close to headwaters for the Bristol Bay region, the largest sockeye salmon fishery in the world and an economic driver for the state, and fishermen and conservationists have long opposed the mine.

[Executive leaves Pebble amid recorded comment fallout]

The permit denial came months after an investigative reporting group published videos of corporate executives behind the project boasting about their close relationships with Alaska politicians, including Dunleavy, and claiming the company’s plans for the mine were beyond what they had told the public.

In December 2019, CNN published an article alleging Dunleavy had been coached by representatives of Pebble Limited Partnership, the company behind the project, and published two near-identical letters; one a draft letter from Pebble to Dunleavy’s office, the other an official letter from Dunleavy to the Army Corps. The governor’s office said at the time it was normal for an administration to request briefing materials on specific projects.

“The Alaska Constitution specifically directs us to develop our resources in the public interest,” Department of Natural Resources Commissioner Corri Feige said in a statement. “When a federal agency arbitrarily tries to deprive us of our rights with the stroke of a bureaucrat’s pen, we simply must challenge that action.”

President-elect Joe Biden said in August he would oppose the Pebble Mine if elected. It was under the Obama-Biden administration that an Environmental Protection Agency ruling had initially prevented the mine from moving forward.

Donald Trump Jr., President Donald Trump’s eldest son, is also among the mine’s critics.

Earlier this month, a group of investors sued Pebble Limited Partnership after stock values dropped 85% over the summer, AP reported.

• Contact reporter Peter Segall at psegall@juneauempire.com. Follow him on Twitter at @SegallJnuEmpire.

More in News

A Princess Cruise Line ship is docked in Juneau on Aug. 25, 2021. (Michael Lockett / Juneau Empire File)
Ships in Port for the week of Oct. 2

Here’s what to expect this week.

Screenshot / Alaska Public Media’s YouTube channel 
Bob Bird, left, chairman of the Alaskan Independence Party, and former Lt. Gov. Loren Leman make the case in favor of a state constitutional convention during a debate in Anchorage broadcast Thursday by Alaska Public Media.
Constitutional convention debate gets heated

Abortion, PFD factor into forum.

Clarise Larson / Juneau Empire
Faith Rogers’ loved ones, from left to right, James Rogers (father), Michelle Rogers (sister), Harmony Wentz (daughter), Maria Rogers (mother) and Mindy Voigt (friend) sit with Faith’s three dogs in their family home. Faith Rogers, 55, of Juneau was found dead along a popular trail on Wednesday, Sept. 21. Police are investigating the death as a homicide.
‘It’s shocking’: Family hopes for answers after suspicious death of loved one

“She wanted to make things beautiful, to help make people beautiful…”

People work together to raise the Xa’Kooch story pole, which commemorates the Battle of the Inian Islands. (Shaelene Grace Moler / For the Capital City Weekly)
Resilient Peoples & Place: The Xa’Kooch story pole — one step toward a journey of healing

“This pole is for the Chookaneidi, but here among us, many clans are represented…”

A bracket fungus exudes guttation drops and a small fly appears to sip one of them.( Courtesy Photo / Bob Armstrong)
On the Trails: Water drops on plants

Guttation drops contain not only water but also sugars, proteins, and probably minerals.

A chart shows what critics claim is poor financial performance by the Alaska Industrial Development and Export Authority, especially in subsidizing private industry projects intended to boost the state’s economy, during its 55-year existence. The chart is part of a report released Tuesday criticizing the agency. (MB Barker/LLC Erickson & Associates/EcoSystems LLC)
AIDEA’s fiscal performance fishy, critics say

Report presented by salmon industry advocates asserts state business subsidy agency cost public $10B

Police vehicles gather Wednesday evening near Kaxdigoowu Héen Dei, also known as ]]Brotherhood Bridge Trail, while investigating a homicide. (Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire)
Police: Woman was walking dogs when she was killed

JPD said officers are working “around the clock” on the criminal investigation.

Most Read