Here’s the latest ad attacking GOP Senate candidate Dan Sullivan for his supposed support of Pebble Mine, this one courtesy of by VoteVets Action Fund. VoteVets is a “progressive political organization” which supports vets. The ad features John Christensen, a commercial fisherman from Port Heiden, who is also a Navy Vet. The buy, including online ads, is $675,000.http://youtu.be/2fT8Varz8xE
It’s not the first, and won’t be the last ad tying Sullivan to Pebble. The first ad of the general election by the pro-Begich super-PAC, Put Alaska First, featured Sullivan and Pebble. Alaska Conservation Voters have formed a super-PAC, named SalmonPAC, which is putting up to $1 million into the issue.
Pebble is one of Alaska’s most well-known and controversial projects. If built, it would be one of the largest gold and copper mines in the world, in the waterways of one of the world’s largest wild salmon runs. Alaska is generally a pro-resource-extraction, pro-mining state. This project, however, has huge opposition. Last I heard, about 65 percent of the public is against the mine. Sen. Ted Stevens came out against the mine in 2007. Begich waited until January of this year to do so.
Here’s some backstory:
If built, the Pebble Mine would be on state lands, and the feds, under normal circumstances, would allow the state the first crack at evaluating and possibly denying permits. But the outcry of public opposition was so strong—and the public’s distrust of the state’s mine-permitting process so deep–that the EPA took the unusual step of beginning the process of denying federal permits even before the project plan was completed and submitted for review. The EPA did so, the agency said, because the mining companies continued to delay submitting project plans, in hopes, perhaps, of waiting out the Obama administration for one that was more sympathetic. So the EPA took the information that it had, including information submitted to the state and to the Securities and Exchange Commission, and concluded that under any scenario, a large scale mine would do irreparable damage to fishing habitat.
Few in the state have said that they’re actually for Pebble Mine. But many of the state’s Republican leaders, including Sen. Lisa Murkowski, Rep. Don Young, Gov. Sean Parnell, and Sullivan, have cried foul over what they call EPA’s usurpation of state’s rights. But because Sullivan was the commissioner of DNR, which approved various permits submitted by Pebble, and because he helped spearhead a lands bill that many considered pro-Pebble, his ties to the project will likely hurt him more than it would otherwise. Too, a voter’s initiative banning large-scale mines in the area will be on the ballot in November, which will help keep the issue front-and-center.
Ironically, one of lead players working for the initiative and against the mine, is ad man Art Hackney, who is also running a pro- Sullivan super-PAC.
Contact Amanda Coyne at firstname.lastname@example.org