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Tuesday, December 28, 2021

State of Alaska Supports Pebble Partnership’s Attempt to Silence Alaskans

~The original Captain Zero

Before I go off on some rant about how my forefathers fought the British to birth a country that could VOTE, and how siding with the British to take away the right of Americans to vote should be called treason, I’ll take a deep breath and explain a few things.

Since one has been filed on your behalf, Alaska, you may want to know what an amicus brief is.

Commonly known as a “friend of the court” brief. An amicus brief provides individuals or organizations (such as government agencies or disability organizations) without a direct stake in the lawsuit to provide information or legal arguments to the court.

It isn’t the first time. In January of 2008, then Governor Sarah Palin filed one with the United States Supreme Court in the case of Exxon v Baker. I know, it’s not like she remembered the case when “gotcha’d” by Katie Couric.

From the Juneau Empire dated January 30, 2008: Gov. Sarah Palin said Tuesday that the brief encourages the U.S. Supreme Court to hold the oil company responsible for the spill and make it pay the jury award of $2.5 billion in punitive damages. Exxon has been appealing the case since an Anchorage jury in 1994 returned $5 billion in punitive damages against the company. An appeals court later cut the award in half.

Wow. That must have burned Parnell’s cookies since he’d been part of the legal team that cut the original punitive damages in half. Yes, he had worked on behalf of Exxon to stiff the Alaskan fishermen 16 years after our water and fish got in the way of all that oil.

Surprised? Don’t be.

In 2005, [Sean Parnell] became a partner in the Anchorage branch of the Washington, D.C.-based law firm Patton Boggs, whose clients include ConocoPhillips and, specifically for Valdez oil spill litigation, Exxon Mobil.

Earlier this year I wrote about a ballot initiative to go on October’s ballot in the Bristol Bay region:

 In April, a group of concerned Bristol Bay citizens filed a petition with the Lake and Peninsula Borough. The Save our Salmon initiative is designed to give locals a voice in decisions about large-scale industrial development. If the petitioners are successful, the borough’s permitting code will change to give residents the final word on any major resource extraction activity that could harm waters with salmon.

That seems fair. If you’re a company with a brilliant plan for development, with jobs to stimulate the economy, an outstanding environmental and worker safety record, and a truly open and transparent information-sharing program, a vote should be no threat.

The initiative didn’t name any specific projects, producers or companies and, like any other initiative, it was submitted with the signatures of people registered to vote in the Lake and Peninsula Borough. Kate Conley, the borough clerk, had the job of checking the names to make sure Mickey Mouse wasn’t on the list.

Then she was sued.

The Pebble Partnership, owners of the giant Pebble mine prospect, filed a suit against her and the borough for certifying the initiative. In the lawsuit, the prayer for relief asks the court to take away the initiative rights of the local people.

A judge heard the case and said it would stay on the ballot. The Pebble Partnership, which is a foreign owned outfit, filed with our court system to take the case to the Alaska Supreme Court and said it was an emergency. Really? Yes. Despite Anglo American CEO Cynthia Carroll’s repeated promises that they won’t develop the proposed Pebble Mine if it doesn’t have the support of local communities, they are trying to silence the will of the borough residents.

So, the fresh hell of the week comes from Governor Sean Parnell. He has filed, on our behalf, an amicus brief siding with the foreign owned Pebble Partnership trying to stop the ALASKANS from voting in their own borough.

It’s stunning. The Bristol Bay Native Corporation, fishermen, and so many local residents oppose the Pebble Mine. Protecting the largest wild salmon stock in the entire world is taken pretty seriously out there. The state wide polling shows the majority of Alaskans oppose the mine.

Sean Parnell has taken orders from corporate masters (both foreign and domestic) over his vow to represent the people of Alaska, specifically the voices of our brothers and sisters in Bristol Bay.

Wrong Mine. Wrong Place. Save our salmon and visit

Contact the Governor. His phone number is 907-465-3500 and his email is



65 Responses to “State of Alaska Supports Pebble Partnership’s Attempt to Silence Alaskans”
  1. tugboater says:

    I am worried that the local “voice” is not as loud anymore. Hopefully this is only MY observation. Anti-Pebble people out here used to talk with much more enthusiasm.

  2. Krubozumo Nyankoye says:

    Blue_in_Ak – well your point has at least come across here though unfortunately not your original comment. I’d be interested to see it if you would care to reconstruct because I am no where near AK and know nothing at all about local events other than what I read here and on wickersham’s conscience. The thing that struck me as out of whack was that the idea an elected governor would file a brief in a court case attempting to block a popular referendum. To my mind it is questionable at best and perhaps even illegal. IANAL.

    Marlys – well don’t let that stop you. Post it here in a comment in an open thread. Post it everywhere you can find where it is on topic. Newspapers are obsolete in many respects. First of all they are almost all owned by conglomerates like News Corp or at the least trying to emulate their business model and that is a very bad thing. So they deserve to die if they are not going to serve their real purpose which is to inform the populace. If instead they opt to propagandize the populace then they and all those who support them by advertising in them should feel the scorn of those of us in the marketplace upon whom they really depend. Advertisers do not like to be tarred with the onus of partisan bias.

    Even more important than print media is talk-radio. That provence is exclusively owned by the right wing and as such most of us ignore it to our peril. When the epitome of the talk radio industry is epitomized by a bigoted moron like Limbaugh and an entire political party kowtows at his gouty feet for the least transgression, there is something deserately wrong with democracy. A concerted effort drove glen beck off the air on Faux noise, now we, the overwhelming majority of ordinary citizens who do not listen to his bile should make an effort to shame his advertisers into abandoning his franchise and relegate him to the trash heap of spent demagogues. We can do this in two ways. The first is to denounce them – the advertisers for supporting propaganda and lies. The second is we must harm them by refusing to do business with them, by picketing them, by constantly reminding everyone who will listen that they are funding a shill who wields influence and power far beyond anything in proportion to his acumen. Limbaugh lies for money, that much is clear from who his sponsors are and who he promotes. We can stop him if we collectively speak the truth.

  3. Krubozumo Nyankoye says:

    blue_in_ak –

    One way to counter that kind of censorship is to remember to take screen shots of your post in context and save them on your own computer. Then if they disappear at some future time you can simply post the screen shots and ask why they vanished. Also post them here or in other blogs that will not censor them, that way you can link to them and be assured they will be viewed.

    I think the results from Wisconsin are indicative of what a battle we are in to prevent the oligarchs and theocrats from taking over. You might think that they are in some sense divided because after all they do not share the same set of ideals, however, I think that for the present they are perfectly content to work together to destroy their main political opponents, the evil liberals and progressives. Once that is accomplished they will begin to fight with each other, to all our detriment.

    This is serious, we need to act like it is.

  4. blue_in_AK says:

    Interestingly, I put a comment under Julia O’Malley’s article in today’s paper, the one about the day of prayer, saying that I was actually more concerned about his filing an amicus brief in support of Pebble. I put a link to this piece and one to the Cordova Times, which had reported on this, and asked the Daily News why they have not reported on it. After 11 “likes” my comment has completely disappeared now.

    • Alaska Pi says:

      saw your comment in the Juneau Empire…?

      • blue_in_AK says:

        I don’t think so, unless somebody copied it. I posted my comment at the Anchorage Daily News. I was getting lots of likes, and then — poof, — the whole thing completely disappeared. It didn’t even say anything “comment deleted” or whatever they usually put in there. I’ve never had that happen before. It’s kind of weird, like they didn’t want anyone to know. .

  5. Krubozumo Nyankoye says:

    blue_in_AK –

    enough to raise a few eye brows I would say.

    It is questionable whether ALEC is legal. If it turns out that it is, then it seems obvious that it should be made illegal. Corporations buying legislation behind closed doors does not sound like democracy to me. But then I am a liberal.

  6. Krubozumo Nyankoye says:

    Has anyone yet looked into the ties between AK politicians and ALEC? That might be interesting.

    So the state files an amicus brief on behalf of corporations in opposition to a citizen referendum?
    IANAL but it seems to me that this raises some constitutional issues that might also imply that an impeachment proceeding would be warranted. Of course if the legislature is majority republican they will circle the wagons around the corrupt governor. Politicians who are devoted to their party line are incapable of voting their conscience. In the simplest possible terms they are nothing but corrupt shills for the vested interests that feather their nests and buy their re-election.

    My memory is selective, I have to concentrate on things here that make a great deal of difference so I may not be too accurate about what follows. I seem though to recall that back in the day there was a clean water iniative on an AK ballot that would have crimped the development of Pebble in a big way. My memory also brings up the fact that a certain governor, at that time, although by statute and principle, prohibited from taking sides in political issues, took off her scarlet governor’s hat for long enough to endorse the opposition, and very likely swayed the election thereby such that the initiative failed. One wonders how much Anglo might have been willing to pay to grease the palm of the greedy governor, who was already cheating on taxes, and collecting per deims and generally grifting for nickles and dimes, to resign without resigning.

    Soon there will be a wikipedia entry under the search terms of Alaska corruption.

    Bear in mind, the same corruption is being instituted and enshrined in many other states at the same time. Look to Wisconsin.

  7. fishingmamma says:

    Start now to reach a new goal: 2014, Governor Scott McAdams.

  8. rugger9 says:

    Reagan’s guy was James Watt, who would be too liberal now for the modern GOP. Note also how BP has piled up an impressive body count and there is no accountability at all, not even an investigation much less indictments.

  9. Skagway Kid says:

    This problem has to go national, the governor siding with big oil and now foreign elements to shave down the Pebble mountain for a handful of low yield copper is consistent with misguided foresight. Let the developers find richer ore free from destroying natural resources. Where is the States department of geology? They could easily direct the developers hunger for more productive resources. Any simple glance at the total destruction of West Virginia coal and ore development on local communities should warn Alaskans what is at risk. This governor has to have rocks in his head to wish this on Alaska. It’s obvious the guy has no love for this state, and again we have buyers remorse for having elected thoughtless politicans like the governor. Why is Alaska cursed with the cadre of narrow minded folks?

    • mike from iowa says:

      RW politicians from Ronnie Raygun’s tenure have been trying to privatize federal natural resources. The first dubya was really trying to give away mineral rights to his friends and then they didn’t collect anywhere near the royalties that should have been collected. The federal gov’t even paid for roads to access timber and minerals for private companies.Dems went apoplectic back during the eighties and it didn’t do much good. HW’s record of appointing industry shills to cabinet positions was nearly as bad as the bad seed dubya’s.

  10. kiksadi50 says:

    one problem in Alaska is that due to the small population un-ethical conflict of interest is openly accepted and rarely questioned or brought to light. parnell was a partner in a firm that fought against giving Alaskans a fair settlement for the damaged done to our state by the Exxon Valdez oil spill & this was never mentioned in the recent election for Gov. I don’t know how we can fight the people who support the Pebble Mine project which will not might damage our last pristeen wild salmon habitat when the ethical standards in this state are so lax.They have the Ak. Government & lawyers with no scruples & more $ than god on their side. I live in a small Ak. town. A man on the assembly consistently votes down $ for human service agencies. He is the executive director of a human service agency which regularly receives $ from the city. no one really seems bothered by this conflict of interest,& those that do are afraid to speak up.this is how it starts. we don’t confront the little things and so they grow.part of palin’s legacy is that during her half term she lulled many alaskans into complacency because they believed the myth that she was going to take on the good old boys. the Pebble mine people took advantage of that window to lay a lot of groundwork to fight opposition.we are going to have to fight like hell to get back that ground.getting rid of parnell has to be part of that fight.

  11. Dave Metheny says:

    Contact Pebble Limited Partnership@
    3201 C Street, Ste. 604
    Anchorage, AK 99503
    Phone: (907) 339-2600 Fax: (907) 339-2601
    Contact: Heidi Franklin, Stakeholder Relations Manager

  12. blue_in_AK says:

    My e-mail:

    I have just learned that you have joined with the Pebble Partnership against the people of the Lake & Peninsula Borough (and the rest of the citizens of Alaska) with regard to their clean water ballot initiative. I’m appalled that you would side with foreign corporations against the people of your own state. Whatever happened to the promise that if the people of Bristol Bay didn’t want the mine, it wouldn’t be pursued? This is just one more example of your failure to listen to the people. If I had my way, recall petitions would be circulating at this very moment.

    Stop pandering to the corporations and Big Oil/Big Money and listen to your constituents for a change. Ted Stevens, Wally Hickel and Jay Hammond must rolling over in their graves.

  13. JudyChicago says:

    Sorry to be off topic, just looking for confirmation on Palin: Is it true that she is a granny for the second time, just 3 months after wedding?

  14. mike from iowa says:

    Let me see if I understand this-a rethuglican politician of dubious character defies the will of his electorate and sides with a huge,monied conglomerate engaged in business that the rethug politician has previous ties to. Why would anyone be surprised? Siding with moneybags against poor,rural folks is a “corporatists” wet dream. I’ll bet political donations and a good chance for future employment had no part in this decision. Call me cynical.

    • Linda says:

      To support your statements – from Jim Hightower “I see the central issue in politics to be the rise of corporate power — overwhelming, overweening corporate power that is running roughshod over the workaday people of the country. They think they’re the top dogs, and we’re a bunch of fire hydrants…”

  15. leenie17 says:

    Have you NOT been paying attention???

    The Supreme Court has already decided that corporations and really, really rich people are SO much more important than all those silly little regular people who actually live and work in Alaska!

    They can’t give lots and lots of money to Governor Cream of Wheat like all those rich folks can. Who cares if we lose one of the most precious resources that Alaska (and the US) has, and thousands of people are put out of work, starve and have to deal with horrendous toxic waste for the next ten generations. MONEY is the important thing here, people!!!

  16. Polarbear says:

    The price of gold hit over $1700 per ounce yesterday, Pebble Mine has never been worth more, Parnell has U.S. Senate ambitions, and there are no limits on corporate donations. But you know, up and down our coast, Alaska fishing families have their own corporations and businesses, as well as the big packers and processors. Time for the fishing industry to organize.

  17. Laurainnocal says:

    Wow. This jokester is scary. Isn’t there something in the oath of office that states he is to protect, defend and represent the people who voted him to office?

    • Bear Woman says:

      The people that voted him in are oil corporations, all their workers, and the development of oil and mines even if it renders the water undrinkable and kills off a sustainable job base (fisheries) type folks.

  18. Millie says:

    Why isn’t Parnell being recalled? He certainly isn’t representing the folks who could lose their livlihood. His actions are horrid!!!

  19. luckycharms says:

    Hmmm… a new nickname.

    MF comes to mind, and I don’t mean MudFlats.

  20. AKjah says:

    Thanks Shannyn i was not keeping up. Seems Parnel has been in office for a decade. When is it over.

    It is so hard to bite my tongue.

  21. marlys says:

    oh, I am contacting alright…I am sick.. but not surprised.

    • marlys says:

      My short & sweet email;

      Governor Sean Parnell,

      I am a simple person, and will be using simple language to get right to the meat of the matter.

      With all due respect Governor, how dare you? How dare you attempt to silence Alaskans with this Amicus Brief filed on behalf of The State of Alaska when in reality it is to benefit the Pebble Partnership who must feel a threat by an honest voting process ?

      This is a dirty divergence of the democratic process and an abuse of your elected office, all the while you are loudly accusing your Lt. Governor of overstepping his authority. Smells like red herring to me.

      Whom is it that you took an oath to serve anyway? Was it for the people of this great State or was it for corporations that will risk a way of life for many generations?

      You have shown your true colors sir, and that would be shallow yellow going after gold and copper.

      Everyday is a day of Prayer in my house. Today I pray for your recall.


  22. Zyxomma says:

    Shannyn, thanks for the update. I haven’t eaten any salmon in decades, but I’m all for protecting it, unlike a certain Governor I could name (and I think Captain is too high a rank for yours, so I rename him Private Zero). What a tool.

  23. Bob Benner says:

    Wasn’t Sean Parnell given the name Captain Zero by Don Young… Since when do Democrats need to rely upon Republicans to come up with the names that have sticking power in the political mud throwing arena??? You would think the Mudflats crew could do better… After all, mud is their backyard..

  24. Alaska Pi says:

    Shannyn, anyone- Is there anywhere to read the filings online?
    The state relying on a version of Dillon’s rule?
    Thank you Shannyn- !

    • Alaska Pi says:

      scratch that, we expressly ignore Dillon’s rule here.
      what I mean is does anyone know how much of a showdown this really is over state v local authority?
      state property within a home rule borough?
      how much a home rule borough can say about state land re: planning and development -within the borough?

      • Pinwheel says:

        As much as I didn’t like the SOA Coastal Management Program, because in the early days they also wanted to ignore the significance of local knowledge, cancelling the 2011/2012 CMP plan, SOA gets away with whatever it wants. Because that 2011/12 plan (written, agreed to, budgeted, 2010?) required citizen input, local knowledge, International attention, negative economic projection for SOA, the State government stonewalled the citizens’ protection of Alaska’s natural resources and Alaskans right to challenge its’ government when it appears to defy the Alaska Constitution.

        Thanx, all of you. nem

      • UgaVic says:

        There is a hearty discussion about this initiative happening here in the L& P Borough. About the OTHER things it might be needed to be extracted, like gravel and how this might impact those efforts.

        Depending on how tightly the part about salmon resources is brought into this it might not be as easy to pass as many on the ‘outside’ think it will be.

        As people come off the fishing season and move into fall and hunting more attention locally will happen.

  25. Motorhead says:

    Thank you , Shannon, for bringing these factors together. If a majority of Alaska voters truly are against Pebble, then I wonder if this same majority would support a recall of Capt Z for his unseemly behaviour?
    Please keep up the fight.

  26. Thank you as always for alerting us to important developments, and details from the past that some of us missed. Parnell worked for Exxon – amazing, yet somehow not altogether surprising…sigh..We have so much to do.

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