ANCHORAGE (AP) — The company behind a proposed copper and gold mine near a major salmon fishery in southwest Alaska has launched a new marketing campaign after voters defeated a ballot measure aimed at protecting salmon habitat and elected a Republican governor.
The proposed Pebble Mine in the Bristol Bay region still faces opposition and regulatory hurdles, but Pebble Limited Partnership is seeking to reach out to residents, KTVA-TV reported Monday.
“We have a lot of outreach on deck within the region,” said Mike Heatwole, a spokesman for the partnership. “Doing small group meetings, we find it’s very important to have an extended conversation about the project and not something that’s very quick television ads or things of that nature.”
Gov.-elect Mike Dunleavy has previously voiced support for allowing the mine to work through the federal permitting process.
Gov. Bill Walker had requested earlier this year that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers halt an environmental review of the mine, arguing that its feasibility was not yet outlined.
“We’re very encouraged by the election of the governor-elect and of the results from the ballot measure campaign, really as a validation that Alaska has process, a fair process for reviewing projects,” Heatwole said.
The ballot measure rejected earlier this month would have set new state permitting standards for fish and wildlife habitat protections. Critics said it was far-reaching and could have a negative effect on development.
Pebble is asking people across the state to share their thoughts about the mine through a survey, and it’s planning to select four people to take the survey on a tour of the proposed site.
The Army Corps of Engineers is expected to publish a draft environmental impact statement on the project in January.