The company behind the proposed Pebble Mine in the heart of America’s best salmon fishery has laid off its lobbyists in Washington – another sign that the long fight to prevent the damaging project going ahead is being won, say anti-mine campaigners.
Pebble LP had retained lobbyists to help push through approval of the huge copper and gold development near Bristol Bay, spending $360,000 in the third quarter of 2020 and $460,00 in the fourth quarter of that year. It reported spending more than $1.5 million on lobbying in both 2019 and 2020.
But it hit a major setback when the Army Corps of Engineers rejected its application in 2020. And since then, the Biden administration has resurrected the Clean Water Act veto process that could stop any large-scale mining near Bristol Bay.
Disclosures just filed reveal that in the last year Pebble has terminated contracts with four high profile lobbying groups. It did not lobby Congress or agencies on any issues in the last six months of 2021, and spent no money on federal lobbying events during that time. Pebble’s only in-house lobbyist also left the company in August last year.
Tim Bristol, Director of Salmon State, a non-profit organisation working for the protection of Alaskan Fisheries and in opposition to the mine, says Pebble has few options left. “It may be hoping it can pull off some legal tricks, but that’s about it. Maybe it has realised the political winds are totally in its face,” he told renews.net.
Pebble says that it has filed a formal request to appeal the Army Corps’ decision. Legal options are also being considered, it adds. Asked about the lobbying drop-off, Pebble spokesperson Mike Heatwole said the company is currently focused on fighting the Army Corps permit denial.