Mark Hamilton, Executive Vice President for External Affairs for the Pebble Partnership, speaks to the Juneau Chamber of Commerce about the Pebble Mine during its weekly luncheon at the Moose Lodge on Thursday, Oct. 11, 2018. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire)

Mark Hamilton, Executive Vice President for External Affairs for the Pebble Partnership, speaks to the Juneau Chamber of Commerce about the Pebble Mine during its weekly luncheon at the Moose Lodge on Thursday, Oct. 11, 2018. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire)

Pebble VP: Project ‘OK’ if salmon measure passes

At Chamber luncheon, mine rep says Ballot Measure 1 will hurt small groups, not much-protested Pebble project

Mark Hamilton, head external affairs for the group pushing the controversial Pebble Mine project near Bristol Bay, told a crowd at the Greater Juneau Chamber of Commerce Luncheon on Thursday that he’s not worried for the future of the project under a habitat protection measure up for a vote in the Nov. 6 statewide election.

Ballot Measure 1, known as Stand for Salmon, would change how the State of Alaska permits development on salmon habitat. A point of contention between backers and opponents has been what kinds of building would be permitted under the law and which would be denied.

[Salmon ballot measure splits Native tribal, corporate interests]

Some have speculated that the measure would kill the Pebble project. But Hamilton told the Chamber crowd that existing permitting requirements are so strong, he’s not concerned new requirements would squash Pebble.

“I don’t worry so much about what it would do to the mine. The mine is already in a process that’s just brutally difficult and very, very specific, very science-based. Frankly, I think Pebble Mine would probably do OK,” he said.

The Pebble Limited Partnership has donated $800,000 to Stand for Alaska, the main group opposing Ballot Measure 1, according to the Alaska Public Offices Commission.

Hamilton is against the measure, he said, because he believes it will make routine building in Alaska more difficult, something the measure’s backers have called a mischaracterization.

“It’s the church that wants to expand their parking lot that’s in trouble here. It’s normal, reasonable projects. I don’t fight against this thing because of Pebble Mine, I fight against this thing because all of the other things it would face,” Hamilton said.

Ballot Measure 1 creates different permitting paths for differently sized projects. The measure would provide for three types of permits for development on anadromous (e.g. salmon) fish habitats. The Alaska Department of Fish and Game could issue a general permit — a single permit that applies to many people — for certain activities.

[Fish fight fills forum]

For other developments on anadromous fish habitat, Stand for Salmon would establish a two-track permitting system, one for major projects and one for minor projects.

Projects that pose a risk of “significant adverse effects” to anadromous fish habitat would be considered major, while ones that don’t have potential to for significant harm would be considered minor.

Interference with spawning, impairment or degradation to habitat, and changes that increase fish mortality are all considered significant adverse effects, according to the measure’s language.

While several state commissioners have said the measure would make some construction projects impossible, Fish and Game has written in an official FAQ that the measure would not stop development in Alaska.

The Pebble Project, 100 percent owned by mining company Northern Dynasty, is currently applying for its latest round of permits. The copper and gold mine wouldn’t be open for about least four-six years, Hamilton said.


• Contact reporter Kevin Gullufsen at 523-2228 and kgullufsen@juneauempire.com. Follow him on Twitter at @KevinGullufsen.


More in News

Jasmine Chavez, a crew member aboard the Quantum of the Seas cruise ship, waves to her family during a cell phone conversation after disembarking from the ship at Marine Park on May 10. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire file photo)
Ships in port for the week of July 20

Here’s what to expect this week.

Bartlett Regional Hospital’s crisis stabilization center during its unveiling on June 14, 2023. (Clarise Larson / Juneau Empire file photo)
Bartlett Regional Hospital shuts down programs at recently opened Aurora Behavioral Health Center

Crisis stabalization program halted at center due to lack of funds and staff, officials say.

A car on Gastineau Avenue is partially buried by a mudslide that occurred during record rainfall on Sunday, July 14, 2024. (Photo by Simba Blackman)
New July rainfall record set for Juneau with a week to go; Suicide Basin nears 2023 fill level

No more heavy storms expected this month, according to forecaster.

The Alaska Permanent Fund Corp. Board of Trustees votes for a new chair and vice chair during a meeting in Fairbanks on Wednesday. (Screenshot from APFC livestream)
Ellie Rubenstein resigns from Permanent Fund board, Ethan Schutt displaced as chair in wake of email allegations

Trustees elect new chair, vice chair Wednesday morning; Rubenstein announces resignation hours later

Police and other emergency officials treat Steven Kissack after he was shot on Front Street on Monday, July 15, 2024. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire file photo)
Names of officers involved in death of Steven Kissack released, along with more details of standoff

JPD states Kissack threatened to kill officers; one officer who fired gun cleared in 2016 shooting.

U.S. Rep. Mary Peltola, D-Alaska, speaks on Jan. 4, 2024, at a town hall meeting on the possible Albertsons-Kroger grocery merger. The meeting was held at the Teamsters Local 959 headquarters in Anchorage. Peltola said on Tuesday she has not decided whether to support her party’s likely candidate, Vice President Kamala Harris. (Yereth Rosen/Alaska Beacon)
Rep. Mary Peltola withholds support for Kamala Harris, is ‘keeping an open mind’

Congresswoman says she’s considering Harris presidency’s affect on Alaska as an oil-dependent state.

People arrive for a service at Resurrection Lutheran Church on Sunday. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)
Lawsuit: Resurrection Lutheran Church leaders have been ousted, clarity in ‘ministerial work’ needed

Pastor Karen Perkins, two others targeted in long-brewing feud at church known for helping homeless.

(Michael Penn / Juneau Empire file photo)
Police calls for Sunday, July 21, 2024

This report contains public information from law enforcement and public safety agencies.

(Michael Penn / Juneau Empire file photo)
Police calls for Saturday, July 20, 2024

This report contains public information from law enforcement and public safety agencies.

Most Read