Phillips Screwdriver

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Gail%20Phillips.jpgGail Phillips, the Alaska republican who called for a boycott of a dozen Seattle restaurants because they had the audacity to serve salmon from Bristol Bay, must have a screw loose. The chefs' concern: the proposed Pebble Partnership open pit mine at the headwaters of the bay that could threaten the fishery, home to one third of the world's salmon. At issue today: Ms. Phillips's failure to disclose her connection with Alaska's mining industry.

The controversy, already covered extensively by "foolish Seattle food blogger" Cornichon (see the two previous posts), and a number of national media, including the New York Times, has now found its way into the food columns of Seattle Weekly, where Angela Garbes writes: "This [call for a boycott] prompted Holden, aka the Cornichon, to ask the rhetorical question now heard round the fish news-related corners of the internet: 'Seriously, Ms. Phillips, are you nuts?'"

Heard round the fish-related corners of the Internet? Wow!

But this is not about Cornichon, it's about the mine, boss, the bloody mine!

Zach Lyons, spokesman for a group of Seattle farmers markets, agrees. Just because no permits have been issued or applied for, he writes, "does not mean people concerned with the potential of this proposed mine should not already be taking action. Once permits start happening with mine projects, it is often too late."

In fact, according to Associated Press reporter Mary Pemberton (in a telephone conversation with Cornichon earlier this week), Pebble has budgeted $70 million for the permitting process, in addition to the $132 million already spend on site development, for the permitting process that begins in 2010.

Quoting now from Lyons's email to Ms Phillips:

you fail to mention that you are one of the Pebble MIne project's greatest proponents, as you are identified in the newspaper article in Florida. In fact, you are a Republican member of the Alaska state legislature from Homer, and a former Speaker of the House, and you have been a partner in the Lindphil Mining Company since 1983. On your legislative page, you list mining among your "special interests", and nowhere in your bio and resumé do you mention any interest or involvement in Alaska's fishing industry. Instead, you try to come across simply as a concerned Alaska resident, even listing a personal phone number instead of one your legislative office numbers. If your criticism of our campaign is that it is based on misinformation, perhaps you could start by providing us with an honest and full disclosure about yourself and your agenda.

... the bottom line here is that we are encouraging Seattle chefs to support the Alaskan economy by serving Bristol Bay salmon. I find it dubious at best that you would show such strong opposition to such an effort. You should know better than anyone that the Pebble Mine project decision lies with the people of Alaska, not the people of Seattle. Are you worried that the people of Alaska might recognize that it makes more economic sense, environment and salmon survival aside, to protect the Bristol Bay salmon fishery that supports thousands of jobs than to allow a mine that will enrich a few and endanger a proven natural resource? Are you worried that the truth might cost you your job in the legislature if the word got out to far and wide, or that if you identified yourself fully that it might expose your conflict of interest?

Cornichon appreciates the fact that Lyons stops short of questioning Rep. Phillips's sanity. Salmon, after all, is known as brain food.

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About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Cornichon published on November 18, 2009 11:19 PM.

Casting Pebbles at Bristol Bay Salmon was the previous entry in this blog.

Victoria Olde & New is the next entry in this blog.

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