Pebble Partnership, Alaskan Native Organization Team Up



In today’s episode of, “As the Mine Turns,” Pebble Partnership and ASRC (Arctic Slope Regional Corp.) Energy Services Alaska agreed to partner up toward the controversial Bristol Bay-area mine. Opponents of the mine were quick to question the ASRC group’s motives, according to the Alaska Dispatch News.

Here’s ADN’s Alex DeMarban with more:

The Pebble Partnership announced Tuesday that it has contracted with ASRC Energy Services Alaska, an ASRC subsidiary, to increase contracting opportunities for Alaska Native village corporations with land holdings near the controversial gold and copper project in Southwest Alaska.

After signing a settlement with the Trump administration’s Environmental Protection Agency in May that ended a lawsuit over EPA’s effort to restrict the project, Pebble is moving ahead with plans to seek state and federal permits for development. That phase, plus construction and operation if permits are acquired, could open new possibilities for contracts, training and local jobs, said Mike Heatwole, a Pebble spokesman.

AES was chosen because it has experience working with Native village corporations to boost business opportunities associated with North Slope resource development, Pebble said in a statement.

“We want to maximize the opportunity for folks in the region, and this is one way is to enhance the business relationships we have with villagcorporations,” said Heatwole.

Alannah Hurley, executive director for Pebble opponent United Tribes of Bristol Bay, said Pebble wants to “divide and conquer” communities in a region where people polled on their opinions have shown strong opposition to the project.

She said ASRC, the Native corporation for communities from the oil-rich North Slope, hundreds of miles north of Bristol Bay, was out of line.

“No one from Bristol Bay has ever told the people of the North Slope how to develop their resources,” Hurley said. “It’s tragic ASRC cannot extend us the same courtesy and respect.”