Justice Department urged to investigate Pebble mine

Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., is urging the Justice Department to examine discrepancies between what Pebble mine promoters said in recently released tapes and how they have characterized the project in legally binding document, as well as in congressional testimony.

Cantwell said Tuesday, Sept. 29, that the now widely circulated “Pebble tapes” released by an investigative non-profit based in Washington, D.C., make it clear that the Pebble Limited Partnership will stop at nothing to build that mine.

“The science is clear – the Pebble mine poses a direct threat to the world’s largest sockeye salmon fishery,” Cantwell said. “Yet the Trump administration has consistently listened to politically connected corporate interests over scientists, so I remain unconvinced they will not someday greenlight this monstrous project.”

During a House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee hearing in October 2019, then Pebble Partnership CEO Tom Collier testified that, “Pebble has no current plans, in this application or in any other way, for expansion.”

Permitting documents that the Pebble partnership has submitted to the government would allow the mine to operate for 20 years, but what Collier said in the released tapes suggest that the company has plans for a mine running up to 200 years, with a planned expansion of the mine’s capacity after the first 20 years.

Additionally, the senator said, contradictory statements made by the company in their fillings back in 2013 led her to request an investigation by the Securities and Exchange Commission into whether the company had misled investors. A recent New York Times analysis of video and transcripts of the leaked tapes described inconsistencies between the recordings and the company’s permit application under consideration by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers which is expected to issue its Record of Decision on a mine permit soon.