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Survey: Majority opposes Pebble Mine, doesn't trust state or industry

Alaska Newspapers Staff

A new survey on the proposed Pebble Mine, paid for by Alaska Wild Salmon Protection Inc. and conducted by Hellenthal and Associates of Anchorage, found that 51.2 percent of Alaska's registered voters oppose the mine, with 35 percent of respondents strongly opposed.

"Interestingly, Alaskans support for or opposition to the Pebble Mine is not defined by whether they are 'pro-environment' or 'pro-development' as over 90 percent of registered voters believe you can support development and still oppose this mine," said Marc Hellenthal, president of the survey firm.

The telephone survey of 802 individuals, conducted Jan. 7-13 and possessing a sampling margin of error +/- 3.5 percent, revealed that Alaskans' opposition to the mine is rooted in a number of factors, including concern over threats posed to Bristol Bay's salmon population, a lack of trust in mining companies, and skepticism regarding the permitting process, Hellenthal said. Of those surveyed, 66.5 percent believe the mine is a serious or somewhat serious threat to Bristol Bay's salmon, he said.

Nearly 60 percent of those responding believe Alaskans cannot trust the mining industry when they say the mine and salmon fishing in Bristol Bay can co-exist. Respondents also voiced a lack of trust in the state's ability to protect salmon, and over half of the respondents think the mine permitting process should be independently reviewed, he said.

Alaska Wild Salmon Protection Inc., a non-profit group led by Art Hackney, opposes development of the mine.