Native Alaskans Snubbed: Will Obama’s EPA ‘Keystone’ the Pebble Mine Project?
|February 16, 2012||Posted by Beth Shaw under Energy, Issues|
Native Alaskans are being snubbed by the Obama Administration’s EPA. All an Alaska Native consortium wanted was a chance to ask Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Director Lisa Jackson for assurance their villages and native culture will be preserved. They were denied the opportunity which in turn denies the opportunity for jobs in an area in the midst of devastating economic depression.
Abe Williams and Lisa Reimers of Nuna Resources (an Alaska Native consortium) went to Washington last week with a very reasonable request. They had written and asked for a meeting with EPA Director Lisa Jackson to talk with her about the Pebble Mine Project in the Bristol Bay area of Alaska.
You see, they represent the area of Alaska that is most affected by whether or not the enormous copper deposit is harvested. The situation for the tribes of that area is dire. The Native Alaskans of the area have little opportunity, and so many are leaving behind their homes and community to seek opportunity elsewhere. The migration away from the area is decimating the Native Alaskan culture, traditions and community. Without opportunity, few will be left to pass the traditions along to subsequent generations.
Williams and Reimers went to Washington to ask for the opportunity to save their community and culture. They didn’t ask for an bail-out. All they asked for was fair hearings for the Pebble Limited Partnership.
Nuna Resources and its native village constituency want to allow impartial scientific studies to build the Pebble Mine near their homes and villages. The natives do not specifically endorse the mine, which would exploit the largest known ore body of copper on the planet. But they want its proposed developer, the Pebble Limited Partnership, to be given a fair hearing for its claims of environmental and cultural protection on Native traditional lands.
Jackson would not even give Williams and Reimers a meeting. The EPA’s emailed reply their request for one — on Feb. 6, 7 or 8 — came just two days before their already-scheduled flights: “While the Administrator greatly appreciates this request, she will unfortunately be unavailable.”
The note ended, “Have a nice day.” Really.
If the Pebble Mine Project is safe, then they can have jobs and a chance to save their community. It would seem that fair hearings would be a very reasonable and rational request. Unfortunately for Williams, Reimers and the Native Alaskan community they represent, that doesn’t fit the party line. Their request was denied.
You have to HAVE ‘green’ to BE ‘green’ and no one is giving Nuna Resources millions of dollars like is being filtered through to the radical environmentalists. The monied left and well-heeled environmentalists don’t have a problem having their voices heard. They are backed by big money to fund AstroTurf faux outrage through groups like ‘Stop Pebble Mine’ and ‘Save Bristol Bay’. They have almost unlimited funding for advertising and public relations (propaganda?) from the millions donated by the likes of Gordon Moore of Intel, Tiffany Company Foundation and Brainerd Foundation who funnel money through anti-development Big Green groups like Natural Resources Defense Council, Trout Unlimited and EarthWorks.
While the Native Alaskans of the area are facing devastating economic hardships (paying $9 for a gallon of milk and $8 for a gallon of gas!) environmentalists are loudly declaring that harvesting the ample supplies of copper in the area will endanger the native salmon. The radical left ignores the reality of the situation. The area can have their fish and their jobs as well. The Pebble Mine study has just been released. The exhaustive scientific study conducted over 7-years at a cost of $150 million using more than 40 respected independent research firms represents the company’s commitment to protecting the fish and the environment as an integral part of the project.
Is it really better to get our copper from China than from Alaska? Will China be more concerned with protecting the environment than Americans? I think not. It seems to be more of a ‘not in my backyard’ kind of argument. We have to have copper so it will come from somewhere. Why insist it come from somewhere without the regulations and restrictions that will undoubtedly be MORE damaging to the environment? That’s irrational and counterproductive to the very cause they claim to embrace. But when has reason ever stopped a good money-making ’cause’. Buckets of money, in fact.
The problem is that while it’s a ‘feel good’ issue for many of the environmentalist – you know, stand up and make a big stand about something that you only know anything about at a very shallow level – its being done standing on the necks of the people who live in the area. The native people are suffering so some environmentalists can feel like their lives have meaning or some of the major financial backers can have even more money in their own portfolios.
In reality, mining copper and gold from the Pebble Mine Project in Alaska is a win-win situation for everyone involved (other than those who have a financial interest in stopping it). It is better for the environment (as opposed to getting the copper from somewhere else), it already is providing jobs in Alaska and will provide tens of thousands of jobs in the long run in a depressed area of the country and it will provide American’s copper at a better price than if it were bought from other countries.
Seriously, what is the downside?
The problem is that it flies in the face of the monied environmentalists that Obama is courting for his re-election campaign. He’s playing nice with the environmentalists while America jobs are being lost and the environment damaged by having us obtain copper from countries where how it is extracted from the Earth is not so well monitored.
Unless something is done, Obama and his environmentally radical EPA will ‘Keystone’ the Pebble mine project.
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