Pebble Buys Signature Thugs (UPDATED)
*THIS STORY HAS BEEN UPDATED WITH NEW INFORMATION. SEE BELOW!
Ahhh. Take a nice deep sniff and enjoy the smell of desperation and deceit. It seems to be wafting over from the Pebble Parntnership.
You see, when you’re a consortium of foreign mining companies with crappy track records and nobody likes you, or the idea of your giant open pit copper mine at the headwaters of the world’s largest wild salmon fishery in Bristol Bay, you start having to resort to all kinds of things.
The latest bit of skulduggery they’ve pulled out of their hat is to activate their stealth PR squad. These folks have discreetly been hiring signature gatherers for a pro-Pebble petition.
According to the National Resources Defense Council,
They posted a vaguely-worded Craigslist advertisement in Fairbanks, Alaska that tells folks who “like being outdoors” that they can “promote Alaska’s natural resource extraction and economic prosperity” by collecting signatures for an unnamed petition— for $2.50 a pop, with a bonus for over 500 signatures.
Similar ads were posted to recruit signature gatherers in Anchorage.
A number of students, staff, visitors, and faculty at the University of Alaska, Fairbanks signed the petition because, they said, they were bullied and misled by the hired signature-gatherers. Not only did signature-gatherers use overly aggressive solicitation tactics, but they also claimed that the petition would “ensure that an environmental review would take place before a mine at the Pebble Site” could be built. The petition (which conceals its association with the Pebble Partnership) would actually support allowing the Pebble Mine to bulldoze its way through the permitting process and ignore concerns raised by the Environmental Protection Agency.
Check out the ad. It’s quite something.
Signature Gatherer (Fairbanks)
Date: 2012-08-10, 10:52AM AKDT
PETITION SIGNATURE GATHERER
Do you like being outdoors? Do you care about Alaska’s economic future? Do you enjoy talking to people?
We need outgoing people interested in collecting signatures for a petition that promotes Alaska’s natural resource extraction and economic prosperity. This is a 4-6 week part-time position.
This is great work for a college student looking to make some extra money before classes start up this fall.
$2.50 per signature, with a performance bonus after each 500 signatures.
INTERVIEWING ON THURSDAY, AUGUST 16TH. CALL or EMAIL FOR AN APPOINTMENT: 907-717-6747
Talking to the public about resource development. Collecting at least 10 signatures per hour.
Making a difference for your community.
• Entry Level
• Working outdoors
Flexible schedule. Must be able to begin immediately. We will train you! Email your contact information and resume.
For more information, call: 907-717-6747
• Compensation:$2.50per signature plus a bonus for every 500 signatures • This is a part-time job.
Note above that each signature will earn the hired help $2.50. Only one problem. There is a specific statutory limitation on how much a signature gatherer may be compensated. So they’d best not be planning a ballot initiative of their own, or they’ll run afoul of the law:
Sec. 15.45.110. Circulation of petition; prohibitions and penalty.
(a) The petitions may be circulated throughout the state only in person.
(b) [Repealed, Sec. 92 ch 82 SLA 2000].
(c) A circulator may not receive payment or agree to receive payment that is greater than $1 a signature, and a person or an organization may not pay or agree to pay an amount that is greater than $1 a signature, for the collection of signatures on a petition.
And it keeps going.
One female student who did not wish to be named because of the personal stress she said the ordeal had caused her, decided to call Pebble Partnership and asked that her name be removed. The office, which is located in Anchorage, was not immediately sure whether they had petition gatherers working in Fairbanks, but eventually confirmed that the Partnership had paid for the gathering. They promised to remove the student’s name from the petition.
And , as we all know, the EPA’s scientific assessment revealed what we thought it would – that even if everything goes exactly according to plan, there will still be unacceptable risk to the fishery. So, science is now the bad guy, and other measures must be taken by those who want to cash in on Alaska’s mineral wealth, and leave their mess behind. If you can’t get actual support, manufacture fake support by whatever means necessary. Nice work if you can get it.
Those who were strong-armed or duped into signing the petition have even called the Pebble Partnership in order to get their names removed from the petition. A small group proceeded to post anti-petition posters around the UAF campus in order to educate others who might fall prey to the scheme.
Spread the word if you can via social media and word of mouth. Don’t be hoodwinked.