October 31, 2022

Press Release: Les Gara Calls on Governor Dunleavy to Return Campaign Donations from Pebble Mine Executives

A New Congressional Report Shows Project Developers Lied to Congress

Anchorage – Today, Alaska gubernatorial candidate Les Gara called on Governor Dunleavy to return over $5,000 in campaign contributions from top corporate executives with the Pebble Limited Partnership. The call comes after the release of a report by the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure showing that project developers tried to trick regulators by seeking permits for a much smaller project while secretly working on a larger project plan. Congressman Peter DeFazio, the chair of the committee, sent evidence of false statements to the U.S. Attorney General’s office.

“Governor Dunleavy should do the right thing and return campaign donations from Pebble Limited Partnership CEO John Shively and Vice President John Fueg. The law certainly allows a candidate to return campaign donations when they are tainted by illegal conduct. Deceiving the public to obtain a permit is illegal under federal law,” said long-time Pebble Mine opponent Les Gara. “The Pebble Mine is a toxic danger to Alaska’s salmon, trout, and other fish. Now we know this mine is more dangerous than ever because it comes with owners willing to deceive Alaskans to get it approved.”

The report from the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure used internal Pebble Limited Partnership documents to “demonstrate a sham permitting scheme designed to evade regulations and develop an open pit mine in the pristine watershed of Bristol Bay, Alaska.” The report found that the mine developer planned for a mine that would operate beyond 20 years despite statements to the contrary by former Pebble Limited Partnership CEO Tom Collier. In a statement, Chair DeFazio noted that corporate executives tried to use a ‘bait and switch’ sham permitting scheme and that CEO Collier lied in a statement to the Subcommittee on Water Resources and Environment.

Alaska Governor Mike Dunleavy’s conduct regarding the proposed Pebble Mine has been troubling for many years. In addition to accepting campaign donations from Pebble Mine corporate executives, the Governor quoted talking points written by Pebble Mine executives in a letter to the President of the United States. Additionally, the Dunleavy Administration sued to help Pebble Mine executives get permits for the mine. In September, Governor Dunleavy sent a letter to the EPA Region 10 Administrator alleging that the veto of the project “would constitute a regulatory taking, for which compensation, in the billions, is due.”

“Governor Dunleavy supports the Pebble Mine and is happy to take campaign contributions from top corporate executives. The Pebble Mine is a danger to fish and is rightly opposed by most Alaskans. I stand with the people while Governor Dunleavy stands with corporate executives who will lie to get what they want,” said Les Gara.

Les Gara’s steadfast opposition to the proposed Pebble Mine is well-known in the Bristol Bay region which is why he has been endorsed by the United Tribes of Bristol Bay as part of their “Salmon Slate” of endorsed candidates.

For more information, please contact Communication Director Amber Lee at (907) 350-0486.