Edgmon and Stutes ask Dunleavy to keep his distance from Pebble’s permit quest

Rep. Louise Stutes, R-Kodiak, House Speaker Bryce Edgmon, I-Dillingham, and Rep. Steve Thompson, R-Fairbanks. Stutes and Edgmon signed a letter asking the governor to distance his administration from the proposed Pebble Mine. (Skip Gray/360 North)

Two legislative leaders are calling on Gov. Mike Dunleavy to stop helping the proposed Pebble mine upstream from Bristol Bay.

House Speaker Bryce Edgmon, I-Dillingham, and Rep. Louise Stutes, R-Kodiak, wrote the governor Tuesday. Their four page letter cites tapes, secretly recorded by a group called the Environmental Investigation Agency, and news accounts of how Dunleavy has helped Pebble in the past.

Specifically, the Dillingham independent and the Kodiak Republican say the administration shouldn’t provide state land for a mitigation plan that mine developers hope will win them a federal permit.

RELATED: Pebble execs tell ‘investors’ Murkowski and Sullivan are no barrier to controversial mine

Details about Pebble’s mitigation plan emerged in conversations the environmental group arranged and recorded.

When then-Pebble CEO Tom Collier thought he was talking to potential investors, he told them he would propose to preserve hundreds of acres of state land to compensate for the miles of streams and wetlands the mine would harm. Collier said he was friends with Dunleavy and that his plan was only possible thanks to Dunleavy’s help.

“Just between us guys, I had a two-hour one-on-one meeting with the governor when all of this came up about a month ago, to walk him through this, to get his commitment that they would be there,” Collier said on the tapes. “And now we’re working with his Department of Natural Resources, and they are being very cooperative in working this through with us.”

The governor’s office repeated its prior statement today, saying the Pebble executives “embellished” their ties to the governor.

Pebble says it’s still seeking a federal permit for the project. It has until late November to submit a mitigation plan to the Corps of Engineers.

Liz Ruskin is the Washington, D.C., correspondent at Alaska Public Media. Reach her at lruskin@alaskapublic.org. Read more about Liz here.

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