The Anchorage Daily News asked candidates in statewide elections their views on a variety of issues. We're posting their responses between now and Election Day. See each candidate's full list of answers by clicking on their mug shot in the right column.
Question: Should the proposed Pebble mine in southwest Alaska be constructed? If you have any specific concerns about the project, what are they?
Pebble Mine should only be allowed to proceed if absolute guarantees are made (and substantiated as being possible) that absolutely no contamination will occur.
On ballot by petition as no-party candidate, registered as (founding member) Veterans Party of Alaska
If it is done underground it would be less problematical than open-pit. My biggest concern is that Alaska gets relatively little money from it and I am not yet sure that adequate environmental safeguards are in place.
Fredrick "David" Haase
Yes I have concerns I can't help it when you hear the arguments by both sides and watch the ads on television. The passion of the people making the arguments is gut wrenching. I have seen some very destructive mines in Colorado where I was born and some very environmentally friendly ones. At this point it still needs to be proven safe for the Bristol Bay and that has not yet been proven to me.
I do not support the construction of the Pebble mine. My concerns focus largely on the severe ecological impact the project will have upon Bristol Bay, the world's largest red salmon fishery. Thousands of Alaskans depend upon the natural bounty of the bay, and we cannot risk their livelihoods on the Pebble mine.
Before construction begins, the Department of Environmental Conservation must address the acidification concerns potentially affecting the long-term health of Bristol Bay fisheries. Only if the fisheries can be adequately protected should Pebble construction begin.
Until all the environmental studies and a final mining plan are finished it is premature to support or oppose Pebble. Clearly the concern is what the effect on water quality there will be if the ore is mined by an open pit process. While I support mining, I will not trade fish for gold and will support the mine only if it can be built without appreciable risk to fisheries and the lifestyles of bay residents.
I will not risk a renewable resource for the exploitation of a non-renewable resource. The health of the renewable resource should always come first. That said, there may be new methods that would allow extraction less destructive than the proposed open pit.
Also, the Pebble project, although huge, may be too low grade to be economic. What happens if it folds before reclamation? There must be a very high bond up front before any work starts.
The proposed Pebble mine is located on state land designated specifically for mining, and thus is a state issue. However, I believe that the state's permitting process should go forward to determine if the project can proceed without harming the environment and surrounding ecosystems. If the science indicates that that is not possible, the mine should not be developed.
There are a lot of good mining prospects in Alaska. Pebble Mine poses too great a risk to the fisheries and I do not support it.
I believe that a well-managed, scientific permitting process with public input should determine whether a project moves forward. Politicians shouldn't be picking which projects get developed and which don't -- that leads to a corrupt "buddy-buddy" system where friends are rewarded rather than science and the public dictating outcomes.
William "Billy" S. Toien