ANCHORAGE (KTUU) If money talks then right now the Pebble Lte Partnership is looking to chat. The latest push from the mining company is revenue sharing. They were hoping to partner with long time mining opponents at the Bristol Bay Native Corporation but that proposal has been unanimously turned down by BBNC.
"We wanted to reach out to BBNC see to see if they could perhaps be the entity to administer this revenue sharing concept for us." Said Pebble spokesman Mike Heatwole.
The BBNC rejected this offer and continues to oppose all things Pebble Partnership related. "Our board, which meant last week, considered the proposal and it unanimously rejected it." Said BBNC Vice President of Lands and Resources Daniel Cheyette.
The boards full repudiation of this offer spans three pages and is signed by the BBNC's president and CEO Jason Metrokin. Cheyette summarizes it more succinctly. "It has been BBNCs position since 2009 to oppose this project... Upwards of 80% of our shareholders have said that the risk that this project poses to Bristol Bay salmon is just too great."
While that rejection plays a roll in the plans of the Pebble Partnership going forward it does not appear to be an end to the possibility or efforts to revenue share.
"We will go forward without them because we think this is a very important opportunity for the residents of the region to share in the opportunity that Pebble represents for that part of our state." Said Heatwole.
The question now becomes how effective will that plan to reach out and offer revenue sharing to area residents work? From the Pebble side, they hope it makes a difference. BBNC on the other hand seems to feel that with the majority of those in the area the feeling has not changed.
"Alaskans understand and value the salmon resources that exist in Bristol Bay. I think like our shareholders, like Bristol Bay residents, they are not willing to risk those for a project such as Pebble because the risks are too great." Said Cheyette.
For now the debate rages on. Moves and counter moves are being made each with opposing long term goals in a high steaks game that will quite literally affect the landscape of Alaska's future.
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