Opponents of the proposed Pebble Mine that would be adjacent to the Bristol Bay watershed in Southwest Alaska have embarked on a fundraising effort to support federally elected officials also opposed to the mine’s construction and development.
Alaskans for Bristol Bay Action, a 527 (tax exempt) political organization, said in mid-April that it anticipated having $600,000 in cash to report for its first fundraising quarter of 2022.
Former Alaska State Senate President Rick Halford, a senior advisor to Alaskans for Bristol Bay Action, said the early fundraising was a testament to how significant each federal candidate’s position on Bristol Bay would be in the months ahead.
“We fully intend to leverage these resources to support champions who are fighting to end the threat of Pebble Mine and holding accountable those who are ignoring the will of Alaskans and the region,” Halford said.
In May, with the wild sockeye salmon fishery just weeks from being underway in Bristol Bay, fundraising efforts continued.
Mike Heatwole, spokesman for developer Pebble Partnership, said that mine advocates believe it is important for candidates and elected officials to know that Pebble can bring important jobs and economic activity to the region and state.
“Pebble development can be done without harming the Bristol Bay fishery as demonstrated by the environmental impact statement produced for the project by the US. Army Corps of Engineers,” Heatwole said. “Pebble, like all resource development projects in Alaska, should be evaluated through the permitting process and not the political process.”
A new poll released in March by public opinion research firm the Moore Information Group found that 64% of Alaskans oppose the mine, compared to 12% who strongly support it.
Halford said that their organization also plans to launch aggressive accountability campaigns targeting those who side with Pebble Mine over the will of the public in Alaska, with an anticipated budget in excess of seven figures.