If you’re an angler and haven’t heard of the battle over the proposed Pebble Mine in Bristol Bay Alaska, well, you’ve been living under a rock. You may have heard the recent NPR stories covering the proposed gold and copper mine on state lands in Southwest Alaska. But if you tuned-out or maybe weren’t listening closely and were curious to learn more, watching Felt Soul Media’s award-winning documentary film Red Gold would certainly draw you in.
Trout Unlimited is touring the Save Bristol Bay Roadshow which tours Red Gold for two weeks in seven cities with one clear goal in mind–to keep Northern Dynasty (the mining operations) out of Bristol Bay Alaska.
Here’s a perspective from the developers, Pebble Limited Partnership.
These videos which were released as TV ads, features a cross-country trek by a “local” from the proposed site to the bay, over a week and 120 miles. The point–I guess–is to say that if the mine is out of sight, and 120 miles away, it couldn’t possibly harm the bay, its people, wildlife or ecology? This little bit of PR magic relies on people not seeing past a bit of visual trickery. The mine and its roads, pits, and pollution would of course stretch much farther than the site itself, and destroy miles of river tributaries (70 salmon streams), bring chemicals and minerals to the surface where they will eventually run-off, and cut salmon off from their spawning grounds while poisoning the air and water. Jobs may be had, for a little while, but at what cost? The shameful thing about the PR is the use of the native local and completely ignoring the true topography of the land she traverses. As a former adman, I can tell you that it is highly unlikely the actor walked 120 miles in a week. No actor or paid representative would do it–the unions wouldn’t allow it and it would be prohibitively expensive. There is little truth in advertising here. That’s why documentaries like Red Gold are so important. If the filmmaker is doing a good job–they are trying to balance a story from multiple perspectives, without giving up the right to come to clear conclusions. The tour begins today in Seattle, Washington, and also today, officials are literally counting votes right now to see if the Pebble Mine initiative will go forward.