My Twitter Feed

April 16, 2014

Brinkley Urges Obama to Stop Pebble Mine

Presidential historian and author Douglas Brinkley urged President Obama to take decisive and swift executive action on preventing the massive Pebble Mine project in Alaska on NOW with Alex Wagner, Monday.

Brinkley noted that many decisive presidential actions could be taken immediately as the Obama Whitehouse seeks to establish a legacy as the President’s second term marches on with Republicans in Congress showing no signs of letting up on blocking legislation. Historically, President Obama has issued fewer executive orders than any President since Grover Cleveland, and has been comparatively reluctant to exert Presidential authority.

Brinkley was clear in his suggestion to the President as he urged him to get out of his “milquetoast” phase and become a fighter.

Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

 

“Just do it. If you want to use executive power, be like Teddy Roosevelt and FDR. Don’t talk about, “I have the the power of the pen,” use the power of the pen.  One could laundry list 200-300 things that could be done overnight. You could save Bristol Bay – our great salmon runs up in Alaska by not allowing the Pebble mine to come in. That’s just one example – boom, a paragraph – do it. And if people sue you, or want to go to court, so be it. Teddy Roosevelt saved the Grand Canyon – it bounced around courts for a few years, and he ended up winning it. But you can’t tell people you’re going to use the executive power and then not use it.”

Brinkley’s comments mirror the urgings of conservation groups, Native tribes and corporations, and sport fishing and hunting organizations in Alaska and across the nation. One signature from the President, invoking a provision in section 404(c) of The Clean Water Act would stop the mine in its tracks.

 Section 404(c) authorizes EPA to prohibit, restrict, or deny the discharge of dredged or fill material at defined sites in waters of the United States (including wetlands) whenever it determines, after notice and opportunity for public hearing, that use of such sites for disposal would have an unacceptable adverse impact on one or more of various resources, including fisheries, wildlife, municipal water supplies, or recreational areas.

The 404(c) provision has been invoked 11 times by the EPA since 1972, and would take a huge step toward preserving the multi-billion dollar fishery which employs 14,000 people, provides half of the world’s wild red salmon, and sustains a true Native salmon culture that has existed for thousands of years in the region.

Pebble4

The President is not being urged to act in isolation of popular support.  A successful campaign by Alaskan groups and impassioned individuals from Bristol Bay and across the state has spread to the Lower 48. The unique jewel that is Bristol Bay; and the horrifying implications of the hemisphere’s largest open pit gold and copper mine at its headwaters, requiring an earthen dam as tall as the Space Needle to hold back a lake of toxic sludge forever in an active earthquake zone; have created a grassroots movement which is powerful in scope and passion.

The Mudflats sponsored an Alaska Wild Salmon party at Netroots Nation in Minnesota in 2011. Editors Jeanne Devon and Shannyn Moore teamed up with co-creator of the Daily Show Lizz Winstead to host the event designed to educate the progressive new media community about Pebble Mine and its threat. Alaska Bristol Bay salmon was the featured food.

The Mudflats sponsored an Alaska Wild Salmon party at Netroots Nation in Minnesota in 2011. Editors Jeanne Devon and Shannyn Moore teamed up with co-creator of the Daily Show Lizz Winstead to host the event designed to educate the progressive new media community about Pebble Mine and its threat. Alaska Bristol Bay salmon was the featured food.

Last Thursday, a group met in Anchorage to celebrate the advances of mine prevention to date, which are not insignificant.

Pebble2

Mudflats editor, radio host, and columnist Shannyn Moore was the master of ceremonies, and speakers included Nelli Williams of Trout Unlimited, Sam Snyder PhD, and Bristol Bay guide and filmmaker Ryan Peterson.

The EPA has just completed an exhaustive study of the area, and came to the decisive conclusion that even if the mine operates as planned, with no accidents or slip-ups, the mine would pose “significant risk” to salmon and the fishery. Most of Alaska agrees it is not a gamble worth taking. Upon the completion and release of the study, at least one of Alaska’s 3-person congressional delegation has spoken out against the mine. Democratic Senator Mark Begich called it the “wrong mine” in the “wrong place.” Outspoken opposition to the mine is not a dangerous political position in the state, as polling consistently shows between 60 and 70% of Alaskans (including locals in the Bristol Bay area) opposed to the mine. 

pebble1

No Pebble activists from Bristol Bay, and across the state rallied at the Taproot in Anchorage to celebrate, and vow to keep up the fight until the mine is no longer a threat.

Recently, the mine’s largest stakeholder, giant multinational mining conglomerate Anglo-American, saw the writing on the wall and pulled out of the project. In light of these developments, the mood at the event was celebratory, but the crowd was urged not to relax their efforts. Organizers reminded the audience that the next big step in preserving the Bay forever is pressuring the Obama administration to take executive action. One signature from the President will effectively prevent the mine – at least for the near future.

Click HERE to add your voice and urge President Obama to make good, and use the power of the pen to save our last great wild salmon run.

And enjoy this film by Ryan Peterson. Give it a little time to load, and you will be rewarded.

sea-swallow’d from Ryan Peterson on Vimeo.

Comments

comments

Comments
9 Responses to “Brinkley Urges Obama to Stop Pebble Mine”
  1. NickWI says:

    I favor simply declaring it a monument, which would kill the mine as well, as mining is not permitted in monuments. Use the Antiquites Act, and set aside 5000 acres, then expand it to 10 million and let Alaska try to sue. President Bush set aside 89 million acres in the Northwest Hawaii monument, and no one complained. Most of the land surrounding Bristol Bay is federal, as are the waters of the bay itself. better to use the powers used by almost every president since TR, and powers he has already used 9 times – soon to be 10- Organ Peaks in NM appears to be close to being declared a monument-, rather than powers the EPA has only used 11 times in 40-some years. if the EPA invokes it, it kills the project, but doesn’t protect the area permanently. creating a monument does.

  2. Malcolm says:

    I can’t believe the propaganda being spread by those so ignorant and melodramtic. A mine has yet to be proposed yet the doomsayers are speaking en mass. I bet these are the same people who continue to predict the end of the world…Y2K…Mayan Calendar….Fukushima…. How about opening your minds? Educate yourselves with facts, not fictional propaganda films and literature, and then make your choice.

    • Jeanne Devon says:

      Since it appears you are in Canada, I’d suggest that you tend to your own salmon. We are plenty educated with facts. The science is in. Anyone saying that there is absolutely no danger to fisheries is either actually stupid, willfully ignorant, or is perhaps affiliated with the only stakeholder left in this disastrous project – Northern Dynasty Minerals, which is located in… Canada! How about that!

      • Malcolm says:

        I’m not surprised by your response; biased, emotion based and completely devoid of any fact. You knowingly seek out those who support your jaded view; you’re not alone, that’s what humans do. You’ve compiled a team of naysayers and you’ve collectively drank large quantities of “the Kool Aid”. You can’t accept truth as it’s antagonistic to your beliefs and wants. The fact is that there is no mine proposal yet. Once you wrap your head around that maybe you can begin to see and approach things from a position of clarity. Nobody wants to compromise the salmon fishery!!!

        • mike from iowa says:

          Okay,Ace. Let me ask you a question or two. If you are so freakin’ smart,what happens to salmon when you totally destroy the fresh water streams that salmon need to reproduce in? If you dig up miles and miles of said streams to a depth of 300 feet and prevent access to that stream for fifty years(or more),do you consider that good for salmon? The mine has been proposed,the 700 foot high earthen berm to hold tailings and wastewater has been proposed. The length of time for mining has been proposed. The amount of gold and silver and coal,etc has been proposed. The korporation has even suggested that they can restore the salmon streams to original condition after they are done mining,although I don’t believe it has ever successfully happened anywhere. How do you propose to return salmon to their birthing streams after being absent for fifty years or more? How do you,in your infinite wisdom,reconcile the fact that this mine would not be built if people voted against it,which has happened every time the people have voted? When you build an earthen damn in a seismically active area,what do you suppose will happen to billions of gallons of toxic,waste water when the dam is breeched because of earthquake tremors? Compromising the salmon fishery is the least that would happen. Maybe you should educate yourself on the workings of nature. Better yet,speak to the locals who lives and cultures are at stake. We’re talking cultures here,thousands of years of people’s lives and histories that could never be replaced or duplicated. I’ll give you an easy way out,don’t you have a hockey fight to watch?

          • Malcolm says:

            “Since it appears you are in Canada, I’d suggest that you tend to your own salmon.”

            “or is perhaps affiliated with the only stakeholder left in this disastrous project – Northern Dynasty Minerals, which is located in… Canada! How about that!”

            JEANNE DEVON

            “I’ll give you an easy way out,don’t you have a hockey fight to watch?”

            MIKE FROM IOWA

            I’m embarrassed for you both. All the best.

            • mike from iowa says:

              That the best you got? No I took your comment out of context or completely ignored the central theme which was nobody wants to compromise the salmon fishery? You are right. They don’t want to compromise it,they are prepared to destroy it in it’s entirety. What does Alaska get? The bulk of the profits leave the country and the citizens get a 700 foot high freakin’ nightmare of chemical shit.that will be there long after this century is through. Maybe you ought to keep your tar sands oil in Canada as well.And just to show you there are no hard feelings,you can have Bieber and Ted Cruz back as well. Have a nice day. :)

  3. Zyxomma says:

    I’ve signed, not just this letter, but many petitions. Lost track of how many times I’ve posted to FB on this issue. Anglo-American didn’t just see the writing on the wall, but the signatures on sheaves of petitions delivered to their shareholders meeting. I appreciate the efforts of the NRDC, Trout Unlimited, American Rivers, Save Bristol Bay, and many others, including, of course, The Mudflats.

  4. Carl says:

    I can only hope the President will listen to the mounting pressure and voices. I have my reservations, given his approach to offshore drilling in the Arctic, waffling on the Keystone pipeline, and trying to ram through the TPP, which would have disastrous environmental consequences.

Leave A Comment

%d bloggers like this: