Four years after issuing a position paper generally supportive of allowing the proposed Pebble mine to proceed up through permit application processes, the Pacific Seafood Processors Association has taken a stand against the mine.
A new position paper issued in November notes that since issuing its initial statement, PSPA has carefully followed the progress of the Pebble project, and considered available information about that and other large mine projects. In particular, PSPA looked at geographical, geological, ecological, hydrological, socio-economic and cultural attributes of the Bristol Bay region, the industry trade association said.
"Regretfully, we have concluded that the level of risk posed by the Pebble mine is simply too high," said PSPA, which has offices in Juneau, Seattle and McLean, VA.
Its membership includes processors and other entities doing business in Cordova.
"While we acknowledge the potential short-term economic benefits of this enormous project, we can see no way that it can be developed, operated, and concluded without—at some point—causing irreparable harm to the watersheds, ecosystems, fishery resources, businesses, people and communities of the region."
"Furthermore, we know from past experience, that actual or perceived damage to the purity of the waters or fish of the Bristol Bay region would harm the marketability of Alaska salmon and other seafood species, even from other regions of the state."
Since PSPA was organized in 1914, the association has never taken a position in opposition to any specific development project or category of projects of other natural resource industries.
"Doing so now is not a decision our association takes lightly," PSPA said in a statement. "While, after careful consideration, we are compelled to oppose development of the Pebble mine project due to its unique location, size, and potential harm, we look forward to continuing to work cooperatively with all Alaska industries on matters of mutual interest and to support projects that can ensure no negative impact on fishery resources or the marketability of Alaska seafood."
Corporate members of PSPA include Alaska General Seafoods, Alyeska Seafoods, Golden Alaska Seafoods, North Pacific Seafoods, Peter Pan Seafoods, Phoenix Processor Limited Partnership, Trident Seafoods, UniSea, Westward Seafoods and Yardarm Knot Fisheries.
PSPA also has several dozen associate members, ranging from marine suppliers, consultants and accounting firms to banks, insurance companies and transportation firms, including Samson Tug and Barge and Totem Ocean Trailer Express.
This story was first published by The Cordova Times and posted here with the newspaper's permission.