The Pebble Partnership announced today that long time Alaskan and retired Major General Mark Hamilton will join the project as Executive Vice President of External Affairs. Hamilton is also President Emeritus of the University of Alaska.
“Mark Hamilton is among Alaska’s best known and most highly respected residents, in large part for his tremendous accomplishments and service to the state over 12 years as President of the University of Alaska,” said Pebble Partnership CEO Tom Collier. “We fully expect Mark’s vision, his leadership and his credibility to materially advance our efforts to re-position the Pebble Project, to ensure it provides meaningful and enduring benefits to the people of Bristol Bay and Alaska, and to help create the social and political conditions necessary to permit this project in the years ahead.”
Collier said Hamilton will begin work immediately this fall, and expects to connect with political, business, community and Alaska Native leaders throughout the state to better understand their views and consider their advice as the Pebble Project advances into permitting.
“I’m delighted to join the Pebble team as we begin the long and rigorous journey toward permitting a mine engineered to protect the environment and the world-class fisheries of Bristol Bay,” Hamilton said. “Like other Alaska mines, I have every confidence that Pebble will be developed safely, in a manner that protects the clean water and healthy fish and wildlife that all Alaskans value. Perhaps more importantly, I think Pebble is a critically important project at this juncture in our state’s history, and one that will make tremendous long-term contributions to the economic and social well-being of our residents.”
Hamilton said he has become increasingly concerned in recent years about the growing discord in America, and fears the “end of reason” when it comes to public discourse about politics and resource development. Too often, he said, lines are drawn and opinions are formed in the absence of informed and respectful discourse – a “don’t confuse me with the facts, I already have my bumper sticker” dynamic.
“I believe in reason,” he said. “I believe in coming to the table to contest different opinions respectfully and honestly, and that refusing to hear the evidence that supports opinions contrary to our own signals the rejection of the dialectic and the end of reason.
“That is where the Pebble Project, like so many contentious issues in American life, stands today. But I intend to appeal to my fellow Alaskans to rise above that caustic dynamic, and to consider this project based on its merits – on the facts, rather than on fear – and I have every confidence they will rise to that challenge.”
An Alaska resident for more than 20 years, Hamilton spent 31 years with the US Army, including successful negotiations in Somalia and in the United Nations, leading toward peace in El Salvador. He has been awarded the military’s highest peacetime award, the Joint Distinguished Service Medal and was recognized by The National Association Of Scholars for “resolute Leadership in Defense of Intellectual Freedom in Higher Education.” Hamilton has been married to Patricia Hamilton (née Behrens) for more than 50 years. Two of the Hamilton’s four children live in Alaska, as do five of their 12 grandchildren.