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Sen. Sullivan voices strongest opposition to Pebble Mine yet

The general election is 40 days out
Sen. Dan Sullivan says he supports the president naming a nominee to a vacant U.S. Supreme Court seat.
Sen. Dan Sullivan says he supports the president naming a nominee to a vacant U.S. Supreme Court seat.(KTUU)
Published: Sep. 24, 2020 at 5:45 PM AKDT
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - After Sen. Dan Sullivan’s name was dropped by executives of Pebble Limited Partnership in secretly recorded tapes released this week, the senator has gone to Twitter to oppose the mine.

In a tweet posted Thursday afternoon, Sullivan says, “Let me be even more clear: I oppose Pebble Mine. No Pebble Mine.”

That tweet ended a thread of posts he started about the “lies of Pebble’s leadership” the senator said he needed to set the record straight.

In “The Pebble Tapes,” as they were dubbed after the Environmental Investigation Agency posted them, then-CEO of the Pebble Limited Partnership claimed the company had a relationship with Sullivan’s chief of staff as the previous CEO, John Shively, was renting an apartment from the staff member.

Also in the recordings, Ronald Thiessen, president and CEO of Pebble’s parent company Northern Dynasty Minerals, said the best thing Sullivan could do for the mine was to continue staying quiet.

“We’re trying to work with him to make sure he doesn’t go and say something negative like – and he won’t say, ‘Don’t build the mine’, but he might say, ‘Don’t issue the ROD until after the election,’” Thiessen said in the tapes.

Sullivan hasn’t said the words “Don’t build the mine” but this is his strongest opposition to Pebble Mine yet. Previously, in an Aug. 24 Facebook post, the senator had said he supported a Trump administration decision that did not grant Pebble Partnership with a federal permit.

“Finally, I have been clear that given the important aquatic system and world-class fishery resources at stake, Pebble, like all resource development projects in Alaska, has to pass a high bard — a bar that the Trump administration has determined Pebble has not met,” Sullivan’s public Facebook post stated. “I support this conclusion — based on the best available science and a rigorous, fair process — that a federal permit cannot be issued.”

Since the tapes were leaked, several prominent government officials have spoken out against the claims made by Collier and Thiessen. On Wednesday, Northern Dynasty Minerals announced Collier had resigned from his position as CEO. In his place, Shively will serve as interim leader of the organization while a search for a new CEO is held.

Shortly after Sullivan posted the tweet, Sen. Lisa Murkowski retweeted it with three hearts and a GIF of salmon.

Sullivan is running for reelection as senator and will face Democratic nominee and independent candidate Dr. Al Gross. After the tapes were released, the Gross campaign released an advertisement that played parts of a clip of Collier saying Sullivan is “off in a corner being quiet." Gross, who opposes the mine, has implored Sullivan to return the money he received from Pebble Mine executives through campaign donations.

Collier has donated $6,400 to the Sullivan campaign, according to July fillings with the Federal Election Commission.

“That’s who Dan Sullivan is. He hides in the corner to avoid showing people what he really stands for,” Gross said in a video posted on Twitter.

The general election is 40 days away.

Copyright 2020 KTUU. All rights reserved.

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