Murkowski on Pebble mine at AFN convention: ‘Wrong mine, in the wrong place’

Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, addressing the 2020 AFN convention virtually on Thursday.
Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, addressing the 2020 AFN convention virtually on Thursday.(KTUU)
Published: Oct. 15, 2020 at 6:44 PM AKDT
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JUNEAU, Alaska (KTUU) - Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, said she opposes the proposed Pebble mine while addressing the Alaska Federation of Natives annual convention.

“But I simply think that this is the wrong mine, in the wrong place,” she said, echoing the late Sen. Ted Stevens.

Murkowski told AFN delegates that she would work to block the mine in Congress and offer additional protections for the valuable Bristol Bay watershed. “I plan to build on my appropriations language last year to ensure that the Bristol Bay region remains protected,” Murkowski said.

The comments from Alaska’s senior senator come three weeks after “the Pebble Tapes” were released.

Former Pebble Limited Partnership CEO Tom Collier told “investors” that Murkowski secretly supported the mine while she said otherwise publicly. Murkowski vehemently denied that claim.

During Thursday’s address to the AFN convention, she said that she recognized the need for economic development in Southwest Alaska but that the Pebble mine should not move forward.

“But while we may have stopped Pebble today, now is the time to think for the future,” Murkowski said. “We need longer term protections that also provide enduring value for Alaskans.”

Mike Heatwole, a spokesperson for Pebble Limited Partnership, said by email the company has a strong environment impact statement “that shows the project won’t harm the fishery in Bristol Bay. We don’t want to comment beyond that until we know exactly what the senator intends to do.”

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