Alaska Voters Support Fair Review for All Resource and Development Projects
ANCHORAGE, AK — Alaska voters struck down an anti-development initiative that a broad-based coalition of businesses, groups and individuals argued would have shut down Alaska’s economic future. At the same time, Alaska voters chose a new governor in Mike Dunleavy who has been steadfast in support of a fair and comprehensive review process for all development projects in Alaska, including the Pebble Project.
“Alaskans have sent a clear message to the global investment community that the state has high standards for development and promotes a fair process for determining if potential projects in Alaska such as Pebble can meet those standards,” said Pebble Limited Partnership CEO Tom Collier. “The outgoing administration would not publicly stand up for its robust regulatory and permitting system. In governor-elect Dunleavy, we will have a strong, fair leader for Alaska who recognizes that a level playing field for all projects is in the best interests of Alaska and an important step in attracting investment for Alaska’s economy. We look forward to working with him.”
The Pebble Partnership joined with a wide coalition of companies, employing thousands of Alaskans, in supporting and funding the Stand for Alaska campaign to defeat Ballot Measure 1. The ballot initiative was defeated by more than 60% of Alaska’s voters.
“For a long time, we have been told by Pebble opponents that everyone in Alaska is opposed to the project. This election clearly demonstrated that most Alaskans support a fair process which allows Pebble and other development projects to participate in the rigorous federal and state permitting process while electing a governor who believes the same,” said Collier.
Collier said that Ballot Measure 1 was a thinly veiled attempt to stop Pebble and other development projects in the state. He further noted that the initiative was too burdensome for most Alaskans in that it would have swept up all current and future developments, large and small, while also burdening individual property owners and small business owners across the state.
“While the measure would clearly have far reaching economic impacts across Alaska’s economy, the proponents heavily targeted Pebble from gathering signatures to advertising for a yes vote. We joined with a diverse coalition that spoke consistently and strongly in defense of Alaska’s existing permitting system to defeat this,” said Collier. “We will continue to communicate with Alaskans about the significant economic opportunity that Pebble presents as we work our way through the thorough permitting process for our project. When presented with the correct information, I am consistently impressed with the ability of Alaskans to make solid decisions about the future of the state.”
Collier said he supported Dunleavy’s campaign because he respects Dunleavy’s approach and support for a fair and thorough permitting process, while understanding the potential role mineral development could offer rural Alaska.
“I have long been struck by Dunleavy’s personal connection to mining and responsible development. He has said he wants to jump start Alaska’s economy and create jobs while at the same time ensuring our fish, water, and wildlife resources are protected,” said Collier. “Our new governor has seen this can be done from his personal experience with the Red Dog mine in Northwest Alaska. All developers want is fair treatment under the law and that is exactly what we will see with this new administration.
“We recognize the high value that all Alaskans place on the state’s salmon resources while contesting a burdensome initiative that would have ground Alaska’s economy to a halt. Our plan at Pebble has always acknowledged the high public, environmental, and regulatory burden we must meet to achieve the responsible development of the Pebble resource. We believe we have met that challenge and are fully engaged in the federal permitting and review process for the project. The next step for us will be to work with the new Dunleavy Administration in advancing the project into Alaska’s robust permitting system,” said Collier.
The Pebble Partnership filed a permit application in December of 2017 with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) to initiate the federal Environmental Impact Statement process. This review process will undertake a comprehensive environmental review of the company’s plans for a mine at Pebble and is expected to conclude in 2020 based on the proposed timeline published by the USACE (see pebbleprojecteis.com/schedule). The Pebble Partnership estimates the project could generate thousands of jobs, contribute tax revenue for local and state governments, and provide significant economic activity for Southwest and Southcentral Alaska.
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