Mining company boosts spending to lobby U.S. government for contested Alaska project

Opponents of the Pebble mine project rallied in Anchorage Monday, August 21, 2017, while a new advisory committee for the company behind the mine held its first meeting inside the Hotel Captain Cook. (Henry Leasia/Alaska Public Media)
Pebble Limited Partnership spent more than $1 million last year to lobby the U.S. government on its plan to dig a controversial mine in Southwest Alaska. How much more? That’s hard to tell from reading Pebble’s lobbying disclosure reports.

Washington, D.C. firms report Pebble paid them $1.2 million to lobby Congress and the executive branch in 2018.

But Pebble’s own disclosure reports show a substantially lower number. Pebble Spokesman Mike Heatwole said the company made a mistake and is filing an amendment. Heatwole put the real number at $1.37 million. That includes what the company spent on K-Street firms and the lobbying work of Pebble executives.

Heatwole said the expenditures, an increase over prior years, are part of its effort to keep stakeholders informed about the advancement of the project.

Among the lobbyists representing Pebble last year was former congressman Richard Pombo, R-Calif., who reported lobbying Interior Department officials. Pebble’s in-house lobbyist is Vice President of Corporate Affairs Peter Robertson, a former high-ranking official in the Environmental Protection Agency.

Pebble also spent $70,000 on in-state lobbying last year, primarily paid to former legislator Eldon Mulder.

Related stories from around the North:

Canada: Northern Canada: Northwest Territories gov, mining company sign agreement on benefits of proposed mine, CBC News

Finland: Gold mining in northern Finland hurts reindeer, says Natural Resources Institute, Yle News

NorwayIron mines in Arctic Norway could soon re-open, The Independent Barents Observer

Russia: Russian miners dig deeper into vast Kola nickel reserve, The Independent Barents Observer

Sweden: Iron mine in northern Sweden to restart production, The Independent Barents Observer

United States: Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski surprised by Environmental Protection agency over Pebble mine project, Alaska Public Media

Liz Ruskin, Alaska Public Media

For more news from Alaska visit Alaska Public Media.

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