Protest Over Proposed Pebble Mine's Keystone Hearings
Pebble head says panel will provide important information
ANCHORAGE - Bristol Bay residents and fishermen are protesting a science panel conducting public hearings on the proposed Pebble Mine.
The panel of scientists, who are not being paid for their time, was pulled together by an advisory committee working for The Keystone Center, a non-profit research organization retained by the Pebble Partnership.
There are three days of hearings this week, and three days next week, on such subjects as potential acid drainage from waste rock.
Protesters say it's a sham.
"There is not an example on planet Earth of a mine of this type and this size that has operated and not contaminated the water," said Lindsey Bloom of Juneau, who commercial fishes in Bristol Bay. "Until we can see an example like that somewhere else, why be the experiment in Bristol Bay?"
John Shively of the Pebble Partnership says the panel will provide important feedback on the scientific methodology being used to plan the mine.
"This is something the state owns. It's worth $300 to 500 billion. It's that kind of asset. I think when people start to understand that, and understand 21st century mining technology, I think we'll have the support we need."
Shively says he hopes the Pebble Partnership will be able to apply for all needed permits next year or in 2014.
Meanwhile, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has issued a preliminary environmental assessment of the proposed mine that says it would pose a risk to the watershed.