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October 6, 2015

Contact: 
Alannah Hurley, United Tribes of Bristol Bay, (907) 843-1633 or girlasue@gmail.com

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

United Tribes of Bristol Bay calls Cohen Group’s review of EPA process in Bristol Bay “Pebble Propaganda”

Pebble-funded report released today deceives Americans on EPA’s process to protect Bristol Bay communities, jobs, and salmon, as requested by Alaska Tribes.

DILLINGHAM,AK- United Tribes of Bristol Bay released the following statement slamming the Pebble-funded report released today by the Cohen Group: 

“In yet another frustrating move by the Pebble Limited Partnership (PLP) in its public relations war against the EPA, a one-sided report was released today by the Cohen Group- who was paid by PLP to discredit EPA’s process to protect Bristol Bay. Not surprisingly, while the report is spun as an ‘independent’ review, it reads like an extended PLP press release -- nothing is new except Cohen has been paid to put his name on it.

The report wants Americans to believe that Pebble is the victim of an “unfair” process.  Let’s be clear, EPA’s process is one that is authorized by Congress under the Clean Water Act and is intended to be used in circumstances where mine activities will do insurmountable damage to the spawning rivers and habitat of this country’s last great sustainable wild resource: salmon. Salmon is a  critical national resource that our tribes, fishermen, and businesses are working to protect by opposing mines like Pebble in the Bristol Bay watershed.

Cohen fails to report the fact that for years, PLP has promised that it would be applying for mine permits. But after a decade of waiting, PLP has yet to submit any permit application. It  was only after being held hostage for years by PLP in uncertainty that the tribes, businesses, fishermen, and residents of Bristol Bay specifically asked EPA to use its clear authority to protect Bristol Bay and stop potential mine activities.

While other letters from Senator Murkowski were included in the report, Cohen purposely left out her admonition of PLP for failing to apply for permits and establish a timeline and adhere to it in the interest of all who would be affected by the development of the Pebble deposit.  These are important facts that have been omitted from the Cohen report and give the public another clear indicator of the biased “review” of its author.

When Pebble came to Bristol Bay over a decade ago, it promised to be a good neighbor. It also promised that the company  would not stay if it was unwelcome. Now, years later, Pebble has broken every promise made to the local residents and other concerned Alaskans. It is now spending money on high-paid consultants and lawsuits to harass and intimidate Bristol Bay’s people for simply trying to protect our cultures, communities, livelihoods, and salmon as a critical national resource. The science is clear that mining and salmon simply cannot safely coexist in Bristol Bay. We are grateful to the EPA for heeding our plea for environmental protections of the sensitive and pristine waters of Bristol Bay- the last of its kind on the planet.  In contrast to EPA’s open and transparent process, PLP has once again done nothing but attempt to mislead the public with the release of the bought and paid for Cohen report.
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United Tribes of Bristol Bay is a tribal consortium working to protect the Yup’ik, Denai’na, and Alutiq way of life and the Bristol Bay watershed from large-scale mining. Learn more about our work at www.utbb.org