EMERGENCY RESPONSE – Members of the Alaska Native Brotherhood and Alaska Native Sisterhood this week organized a city-wide food drive for residents of Angoon and other villages affected by the lack of Alaska Marine Highway System ferry service. Hundreds of pounds of food were collected at Sitka High School and other drop off sites. Thursday night about three dozen people attended a meeting at ANB Founders Hall to discuss the ferry situation and prepare food for shipping. Laurie Serka, outstation manager for Alaska Seaplanes, said Alaska Seaplanes, Sitka Custom Marine and Dr. Sul Ross Thorward donated shipping costs for the perishable food donated by AC Lakeside. Tom Gamble is planning to take a load of food to Angoon aboard his boat. Donations for shipping food to Kake are currently being sought. Contact for the donations is Nancy Furlow, ANS Camp 4 president, 907 227-9102. PHOTOS: clockwise from top left, Laurie Serka, Steve Schmidt and Marjo Vidad of Alaska Seaplanes load food bound for Angoon this morning. Tom Gamble and Chad Titell  deliver boxes of food from Sitka High School to ANB Founders Hall Thursday night. Paulette Moreno, ANS Grand Camp president, addresses volunteers Thursday night. Sitkans gather in a circle at ANB Founders Hall Thursday to brainstorm responses to the lack of state ferry service. (Sentinel Photos by James Poulson)

Legislators, Native Group Join Pebble Mine Dispute

    ANCHORAGE (AP) — Alaska lawmakers and a Native corporation have joined the dispute over a Canadian company’s potential investment in a large copper and gold mining project.
    Republican Gov. Mike Dunleavy wrote a July letter supporting investment in the Pebble Mine by Wheaton Precious Metals Corp. of Vancouver, Canada, The Anchorage Daily News reported Monday.
    Dunleavy’s letter came after groups opposed to Pebble wrote to Wheaton President Randy Smallwood discouraging its involvement.
    Pebble opponents argue the project threatens the Bristol Bay salmon fishery in southwest Alaska. Potential developer Pebble Limited Partnership maintains it can operate the mine safely without threatening the fishery.
    A group of 20 state lawmakers sent a letter Monday telling Smallwood that Dunleavy had downplayed public opposition. The letter included the signatures of 16 Democrats, two Republicans and two independents.
    The governor’s July 30 letter to Smallwood “misrepresents the ease with which the state might permit the proposed Pebble Mine, and the reception it is likely to receive from those living in the region,” the lawmakers wrote.
    Bristol Bay Native Corporation, which is based in the region where the mine would be built, sent Smallwood a similar letter Aug. 29.
    “There is strong opposition to the project within Bristol Bay and across Alaska,” wrote corporation President Jason Metrokin.
    Dunleavy has not stated a position on Pebble, but said the state would stand by Wheaton’s potential investment to help Pebble complete the permitting phase.
    “Governor Dunleavy and a large number of Alaskans believe projects should be allowed to follow a fair and transparent permitting process,” his office said in a statement Monday.

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