Villages upset by Pebble opposition

Corporations say 'irresponsible actions' threaten communities

Posted: Thursday, December 17, 2009

ANCHORAGE - Two Bristol Bay village corporations are angered by their regional Native corporation's vote to oppose the proposed Pebble copper and gold mine.

Officials with the Alaska Peninsula Corp. and the Pedro Bay Corp. said Tuesday the opposition by the Bristol Bay Native Corp. threatens their ability to develop and grow.

"BBNC's irresponsible actions, based on irrational fear mongering, threatens our very ability to survive," said Ralph Angasan, president of Alaska Peninsula, which includes Newhalen, Kokhanok, South Naknek, Ugashik and Port Heiden. He said the villages are struggling from high living costs and unemployment.

Bristol Bay Native Corp. represents about 8,500 shareholders who live in the region or have ancestral ties to its villages. The board voted last week to oppose Pebble due to concern about its possible impact on fish runs.

Pedro Bay Chairman John Allen Adcox said the BBNC vote was "an outrageous and dictatorial act." His company owns land that links the Pebble site to lower Cook Inlet, a possible corridor for transporting ore.

Bristol Bay Chief Executive Jason Metrokin told the Anchorage Daily News the vote was not against development in general.

"Ultimately, BBNC doesn't feel that the Pebble mine project is a must-have project for the region to diversify its economy," he said.

Mining companies are still planning the project, which would create hundreds of jobs.

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