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Thread: Pebble Initiative, guess the Tribe has spoken.

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    Member AlaskaHippie's Avatar
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    Default Pebble Initiative, guess the Tribe has spoken.

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    I guess the folks in the Lake and Peninsula Borough have spoken.

    Now, do we honor their choice, or litigate it?
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    Member AKDoug's Avatar
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    I am surprised it was as close as it was. Everything I heard said nobody out there supported Pebble. What is even more surprising to me was the low turnout. I figured a huge controversial issue like this in a rural area would draw more than 50%.
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    Supporting Member iofthetaiga's Avatar
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    I'm surprised it was so close too. All I've heard is that everyone out there supports it, and the only people who oppose it are not Alaskans. Must be alot of non-Alaskans voting out there I guess....

    Quote from the article reference the vote: "The Pebble Limited Partnership, the group seeking to develop the mine, has challenged its legality." This is the same Pebble Limited Partnership who keeps insisting that they won't proceed with the mine if the majority of the people out there don't want it.

    How can you tell when a mining company is lying to you?....Something about their lips moving...
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    Member JOAT's Avatar
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    Shouldn't make any difference. The mining guys have claimed all along that they are developing a mining plan that won't threaten the salmon waters. This initiative says that any large scale mine can't threaten the salmon waters. Thus, when Pebble finally submits a mining plan (which they haven't yet, the media hype has all be speculative and not based on any specific plan submission), as long as the plan demonstrates that they won't threaten salmon waters, the mine can proceed through the permitting process and eventually bring great economic wealth to this region. I'd call that a "win-win".

    In the interim, it's going to end up like Arizona trying to check Mexican ID cards and being told that is out of their jurisdiction. The 280 people in the region who don't want the mine to threaten salmon streams (yep, just 280 people) can't trump the state's control of the permitting process for publicly owned mineral rights. Welcome to Alaska!
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    Member tccak71's Avatar
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    The will of NIMBY Bob Gilliam has spoken.
    Not a fair question AKHippie. You know what the environmentalists would do. I say we take a page out of the environmentalist playbook and litigate the heck out of this. With all the dough poured into the election I figured it would be at least an 80%-20% vote for the initiative. I agree, 280 people won't stop this mine. To me this vote did more harm than good for those against the mine. If this mine was such a travesty, it should garner more than 53% of the vote.

    Tim

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    Exclamation Help . . .

    Somebody help me out here, please. What's the big objection to Pebble? As I understand it, it's the proposed earthen dam that is supposed to contain the mine's toxic waste. Is that it?

    And does anyone remember "Paradise," by John Prine?




    When I was a child my family would travel
    Down to Western Kentucky where my parents were born
    And there's a backwards old town that's often remembered
    So many times that my memories are worn.

    Chorus:
    And daddy won't you take me back to Muhlenberg County
    Down by the Green River where Paradise lay
    Well, I'm sorry my son, but you're too late in asking
    Mister Peabody's coal train has hauled it away

    Well, sometimes we'd travel right down the Green River
    To the abandoned old prison down by Adrie Hill
    Where the air smelled like snakes and we'd shoot with our pistols
    But empty pop bottles was all we would kill.

    Repeat Chorus:

    Then the coal company came with the world's largest shovel
    And they tortured the timber and stripped all the land
    Well, they dug for their coal till the land was forsaken
    Then they wrote it all down as the progress of man.


    Repeat Chorus:

    When I die let my ashes float down the Green River
    Let my soul roll on up to the Rochester dam
    I'll be halfway to Heaven with Paradise waitin'
    Just five miles away from wherever I am.

    Repeat Chorus:

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    Forum Admin Brian M's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Marcus View Post
    Somebody help me out here, please. What's the big objection to Pebble? As I understand it, it's the proposed earthen dam that is supposed to contain the mine's toxic waste. Is that it?
    That seems to be the biggest objection, with another being the open pit that could potentially be the largest in North America. If Pebble designed it as an underground mine and found a way to extract the gold via a means other than cyanide leaching, I'm sure the opposition would significantly shrink. I don't have a clue as to whether that is possible, though.

    Some also oppose the road and other infrastructure that would need to be built, but I'm guessing those folks are fewer in number.

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    I recently sat in on presentations given by both The pebble partnership, and the renewable resource coalition. Actually, I've spent at least 8 hours over the last year listening to presentations from both side (right from the horse's mouth) Pebble said they would listen to the people, well......here yah go. There is nothing "unconstitutional" about the ballot. I notice in the pebble initiative presentation, they had no plan set fourth regrading how to contain the tailings. The size of this mine would be lager than the city of Seattle, and deeper than the tower in Seattle is tall. The tailings would be so massive, there is no way to contain them without killing salmon habitat. The very size of the mine would eliminate major branches of the Mulchatna which would also effect the hydrology and stream chemistry of the entire Mulchatna River. The road that they propose would be private for 10-20 years. In the presentation, they left out seismic activity, and volcanic activity, both prevalent in the region.

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    Managing natural resources by ballot box is the most utterly ridiculous method that could possibly be adopted.

    Wanaa put Hunting and Fishing intitiatives on the ballot? Habitat improvement intitiatives? Methods and Means? Trapping? Catch and Release?

    Isn't the prison on Pt Mac reason enough to give pause to this line of thought?

    This vote result is a mirrored image of what is happening on a global scale...main-stream media is capable of and how it can be used to inflame the ignorant.
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    Yahhh, like totally! It does put it into perspective! What? Did somebody say water flows to Bristol Bay? No way! And derz groundwater too......OMG!

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    Talking Refusals

    Refusals by individual communities to engage in diversifying their economies should be met with Refusals...when they have a poor year of fish returns and start in whining about being broke.

    Yep...they need to be told..."I Told Ya So"!!! and leave them go to the polls and figure out how they are going to make it until the next good run! Maybe they will decide to print their own local currency and fend independant of the rest of society....Nawhhh
    "96% of all Internet Quotes are suspect and the remaining 4% are fiction."
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    Member mainer_in_ak's Avatar
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    If you read the official mining regulations regarding royalties, pebble mine would only give you about a $3.00 "PFD". I'll pass on a bag of potato chips.

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    Member jkb's Avatar
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    Great idea we shall vote on everything. Just like Ross Perot wanted an electronic town hall.
    I think that area is to delicate for anyone to be out there. Next ballot no person shall live in the watershed leading to bristol bay. No better yet, people shall not be allowed to visit. Think of the fish we will save. Look what people did to the caribou herd!!! Everytime a person goes behind a bush to relieve themselvles it's a toxic tidal wave. If we are going to save it let's really save it.


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    I'm not sure if they got assurances that natives would get hired by the mine, but I would be willing to bet that the "thousands of jobs" created will be filled by Anchorage residents who commute on two-week shifts like they do on the slope. Who really thinks a mining company is going to give Joe Local the keys to a D10 at $80/hr? Obvious why the commercials are all over Anchorage tv... because like every other issue, those are the folks who will get to decide.
    Passing up shots on mergansers since 1992.


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    Member tccak71's Avatar
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    Mariner, the taxes/royalties definitely need to be shored up--nothing like they did to the oil companies, but taxes/royalties should be collected for the resource.

    Tim

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    Supporting Member iofthetaiga's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tccak71 View Post
    know what the environmentalists would do. I say we take a page out of the environmentalist playbook and litigate the heck out of this. With all the dough poured into the election I figured it would be at least an 80%-20% vote for the initiative. I agree, 280 people won't stop this mine. To me this vote did more harm than good for those against the mine. If this mine was such a travesty, it should garner more than 53% of the vote.

    Tim
    You won't have to litigate this Tim, the mining company is already in the process of doing that. They're running this show, and ultimately they'll win. Everyone else, including the environment upon which we all depend will lose. All you have to do is stand back and watch. Oh, and tell your Grandchildren they should be prepared to deal with the aftermath, because they will.

    Quote Originally Posted by tccak71 View Post
    Mariner, the taxes/royalties definitely need to be shored up--nothing like they did to the oil companies, but taxes/royalties should be collected for the resource.

    Tim
    Our 100+ year old mining laws say otherwise. It's a giveaway. The mining company gets this virtually for free. The mine proponents keep saying we should let the process play out and see what happens. They say if we don't like the process, we should work within the system to get the laws changed. Well, the mining laws say the mine gets this deal essentially for nothing; it says they get to keep all the profit and not give you any royalty. It says you should be happy if they deem you worthy of a short term job, and grateful when they leave a colossal environmental disaster for your Grandchildren to live with. That's what the US mining laws are gonna do for you. There's some "shoring up" to do all right. Where would you propose we start?
    ...he who knows nothing is nearer to truth than he whose mind is filled with falsehoods & errors. ~Thomas Jefferson
    I would rather have a mind opened by wonder than one closed by belief. ~Gerry Spence
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brian M View Post
    That seems to be the biggest objection, with another being the open pit that could potentially be the largest in North America.
    There's simply no reason to make ANY mine that big, other than rampant greed. I say that even with a clear understanding of the business logic for scale, due to the huge capital investments required, yet we could easily mine the area on a much smaller scale without destroying it. If the project needs to be that big in order to pencil out, that simply indicates that the proposed mine is not economically viable.

    I've seen several huge open pit mines, such as the Santa Rita copper mine in New Mexico, and they are a travesty. They often harm not only the environment but also the local community and the local economy. I wouldn't ever want to see any open pit that big, anywhere in Alaska! We have a fine tradition of small scale mining that is worth preserving. Yet large scale mining tends to drive out small scale mining, in the same way that big box stores tend to drive small shops out of business.

    If Pebble designed it as an underground mine and found a way to extract the gold via a means other than cyanide leaching, I'm sure the opposition would significantly shrink. I don't have a clue as to whether that is possible, though.
    Currently about 90% of gold production worldwide uses the cyanide leach process. It's certainly possible to produce gold without cyanidation but it's much more expensive. The main reason for using such a toxic process is that it's cheap and efficient up front while the mine is open, despite being slow and extremely expensive to clean up once the mine closes.

    There are no long term studies on the success of mine rehabilitation because open pit mining is still too new in human history, but most estimates are that it will take thousands of years for even properly rehabilitated mines to become acid neutral and stop leaching into the environment.

    Anyone attempting to make an argument in favor of large scale mining, whether for the jobs or for the resources, needs to include all of the hidden, externalized, or socialized costs of mining, including the costs of cleanup and rehabilitation, for it to be an economically valid argument. There are some mines that successfully address all of those costs, but most don't even pretend to try.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Akres View Post
    Managing natural resources by ballot box is the most utterly ridiculous method that could possibly be adopted.

    Wanaa put Hunting and Fishing intitiatives on the ballot? Habitat improvement intitiatives? Methods and Means? Trapping? Catch and Release?
    Honestly, voting on absolutely everything would not be a bad idea at all, as long as we eliminate the idiotic "majority rules" mentality. Replace 51% with 100% (i.e. "consensus"), or if we're not ready for that step, then require at least 80% of a 2/3 quorum to pass anything. Less garbage would get passed, and whatever does get passed would be much better thought out and have more support. Can you even imagine everyone following the laws willingly because they voted for them and they believe in them? Direct democracy is a beautiful idea that we've never actually tried. It would be messy, with many problems, but it should eventually result in a far more educated, engaged, respectful, and responsible populace. That possibility seems worth the inevitable hassles!

  19. #19

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    Quote Originally Posted by jkb View Post
    Everytime a person goes behind a bush to relieve themselvles it's a toxic tidal wave.
    Guess it kinda depends on what you've been eating, doncha think?

  20. #20
    Member JOAT's Avatar
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    Good points and I'll reissue one of my key concerns from the opening volley of the whole pebble mine issue several years back...

    Let's stop letting foreign companies come into our state (and country) to extract our natural resources and then leave. They have no vested interest in doing it right and they are shipping profits out of state (and country). Natural resources should be handled by Alaskan (or at least American) companies. The best operation would be from moderate sized, locally owned and operated companies.

    Alaska has a track record of extracting natural resources using the most sound environmental processes you can imagine. Just look at the oil industry for a prime example. Oil production in Alaska has the most rigorous standards for conducting a clean and environmentally compatible operation anywhere on this planet. Go look at a 3rd world oilfield if you don't believe me.

    There's no reason why we can't establish the same kind of oversight and strict environmental policy in regard to other mineral mining operations. We can ban the use of the cyanide leach process. If the mining company wants to extract the minerals, then they can come up with an environmentally friendly way to do it. The thing about a company seeking profit that has engineers and strict guidelines, is that they can usually figure out a way to get the job done. Human ingenuity is a great thing. Give them the required criteria and let's see what they come up with.
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