Nature's Voice June July 2012
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A trans-Atlantic campaign mounted by NRDC and our Alaskan allies put new pressure on Anglo American and Rio Tinto, the global giants behind the proposed Pebble Mine, when they convened in London in April for their annual shareholder meetings. Capping weeks of public mobilization against the toxic mega-mine, we delivered 400,000 more petitions of protest to company officials and took out eye-catching ads in both The New York Times and the Financial Times of London. The full-page ads demanded that the two mining companies “Take No for an Answer,” spotlighting their broken promises and refusal to respect the will of the Native peoples, fishermen and other residents of Bristol Bay, Alaska, who are overwhelmingly opposed to construction of the massive gold and copper mine. A delegation of leaders from Bristol Bay traveled to London for the shareholder meetings, where they and NRDC senior attorney Joel Reynolds urged Anglo American and Rio Tinto to abandon a project that threatens environmental and financial disaster. At two miles wide and 2,000 feet deep, the proposed Pebble Mine would generate an estimated 10 billion tons of mining waste at the headwaters of some of the greatest wild salmon runs in the world, imperiling not only an unspoiled wilderness but the communities that depend on it for survival. The annual meetings showed two companies increasingly on the defensive, with cracks in their unified front beginning to show. While Anglo American’s board chairman attempted to dismiss the intensifying opposition, Rio Tinto’s chief executive, Tom Albanese, made news by announcing publicly for the first time that he does not support the current plan for an open-pit mine because of concerns about its environ- mental risks. “An open-pit mine is not the way to go . . . in my opinion,” said Albanese. Mitsubishi Corporation, a former backer of the proposed mine, withdrew from the project last year. Said NRDC’s Reynolds, “We need to keep the pressure on until the remaining companies deliver on their promise to respect local communities, who’ve said — loud and clear, time and again — that they don’t want this mine.” To date, our Stop the Pebble Mine campaign has generated more than one million petitions, making it one of the biggest environmental protests in history. Battle Over Mine Moves to the Boardroom 3 Our ad reached more than one million people on both sides of the Atlantic.