|Northwest Fisheries Meeting with Pebble Mine exec reveals dissension among Pebble partners
|SEAFOOD.COM NEWS by John Sackton – March 21, 2013
In an unusual twist for their monthly meeting, Seattle’s Northwest Fisheries Assoc. invited John Shively, the head of Pebble Partnership, to address the fisheries association last night.
Although conversation was polite, the seafood industry was clearly highly skeptical that Pebble could be built in a way that did not harm the salmon industry.
Some of the most pointed questions concerned the Wardrop report. This was issued in February of 2012 by Northern Dynasty as part of its filing with the EPA, and was used by the EPA in its draft watershed assessment.
However, in later testimony to the EPA in August, 2012, Northern Dynasty disavowed the report, calling it a ‘fantasy proposal’.
Washington Senator Maria Cantwell has asked the SEC to investigate whether Northern Dynasty misled investors with the report, or else provided false testimony to the EPA.
Shively was asked directly about the report, Shively said that the report was issued by Northern Dynasty against the wishes of the other partners. Anglo American, a British Mining company, is a 50% owner, and the Pebble Limited Partnership, which Shively heads, is the company put together to operate the mine.
“I actually asked (Northern Dynasty) not to issue that report because I thought it was premature,” said Shively.”
He added that the project plan is not finalized yet, which is why the company has not issued a formal proposal for permitting.
“(Northern Dynasty) even said there may not be a mine here; there are a lot of things that may not actually be in the report if we’d issued it once it was complete,” he told Jeanine Stewart of Undercurrent News in response to a question on whether the entire public campaign was premature.
Shively also said he thought the Environmental Protection Agency’s assessment of the project was premature.
“For me, it’s a fantasy for the government to say here’s a mine plan, when that may not be what we propose,” Shively said.
Shively admitted that, with some information yet to be gathered, some concern expressed by the seafood industry is valid.
“I never said this isn’t a concerning project, and when we get to the permitting process, I would expect all of you to take a very active role in looking at it,” he said.
The effort to say that since there has been no permit application, questions about the scope and impact of the mine are premature, is a common refrain currently from supporters of the Pebble mine.
Many in the seafood industry and their congressional allies who do not want to see the world’s largest mine built on top of the Bristol Bay watershed are pushing the EPA to make an early determination that such a project could not reduce risks to salmon habitat sufficiently to be legal under the Clean water act.
Jeanine Stewart of Undercurrent News contributed to this article