Record No: Res 31851    Version: Council Bill No:
Type: Resolution (Res) Status: Adopted
Current Controlling Legislative Body City Clerk
On agenda: 10/29/2018
Ordinance No:
Title: A RESOLUTION addressing the proposed Pebble Mine in Alaska's Bristol Bay, and urging the Trump administration to undergo the appropriate environmental review, economic assessment, and consultation with the public to protect the wide-ranging interests in the region, including that of Seattle's business community.
Sponsors: Debora Juarez
Supporting documents: 1. Summary and Fiscal Note, 2. Proposed Amendment (added; 10/29/18), 3. Signed Resolution 31851, 4. Affidavit of Publication


RESOLUTION __________________


A RESOLUTION addressing the proposed Pebble Mine in Alaska’s Bristol Bay, and urging the Trump administration to undergo the appropriate environmental review, economic assessment, and consultation with the public to protect the wide-ranging interests in the region, including that of Seattle’s business community.


WHEREAS, Pebble Limited Partnership (PLP) has proposed building an open-pit gold and copper mine in Alaska’s Bristol Bay (“Pebble Mine”), which, if built, would be the largest mine in North America; and

WHEREAS, open-pit mines across North America have a historic track record of leaking toxic tailings and pollutants into nearby surface and groundwater, and no mine the size of the proposed Pebble Mine has ever been built in a seismically active, sensitive environment without causing irreparable harm to nearby habitat and waters; and

WHEREAS, under the Obama administration, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) concluded that “unacceptable adverse effects on fishery areas (including spawning and breeding areas) could result from the discharge of dredge or fill material associated with mining the Pebble deposit”; and

WHEREAS, it has been clearly demonstrated through nearly a decade of scientific review that the Pebble Mine will have significant and unacceptable impacts on Bristol Bay’s salmon habitat, which supports world-class fisheries and Native subsistence cultures; and

WHEREAS, on December 22, 2017, PLP began to file for a critical federal permit with the Army Corps of Engineers, initiating scoping and a draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS); and

WHEREAS, the Army Corps of Engineers has substantially expedited the scoping and permitting process: skipping critical steps and timelines, providing insufficient opportunities for public review in Alaska, and providing no public forums in Washington, despite the waters, fish, and landscapes of Bristol Bay being critical resources for many Seattle-area businesses and helping to generate tens of millions of dollars for Seattle each year; and

WHEREAS, a draft EIS is expected in early 2019, just six months after the scoping period’s end and one year sooner than standard process; and

WHEREAS, Seattle-based industries such as restaurants, seafood processing, outdoor recreation, and commercial fishing have voiced their strong opposition to this project and have thus far been ignored by the Trump administration; and

WHEREAS, The City of Seattle and the greater metropolitan area have a robust history of strong economic ties to Alaska fisheries, including $3.3 billion in seafood income garnered by residents and processing companies based in Puget Sound in 2013; and

WHEREAS, Bristol Bay is the world’s largest salmon fishery and, during the record-breaking 2018 season, fishermen harvested over 40 million sockeye salmon, accounting for nearly 50 percent of the world’s sockeye salmon supply; and

WHEREAS, the Seattle City Council has cited the significant economic and cultural importance of wild salmon and salmon habitat protections to Seattle residents in multiple resolutions, including but not limited to Resolution 31443, opposing genetically engineered salmon, and Resolution 30850, regarding the daylighting of pipes and culverts to protect essential salmon passage and habitat; and

WHEREAS, in addition to ignoring the concerns of Seattle businesses, the Trump administration has ignored the concerns of the Native tribes of Bristol Bay; and

WHEREAS, the process being pursued by the Trump administration is one of the least scientific and least transparent permitting processes the federal government has ever undertaken for a mine of this size; and

WHEREAS, the new head of the Environmental Protection Agency, Andrew Wheeler, has a conflict of interest due to his previous work lobbying on behalf of the Pebble Mine; and

WHEREAS, ignoring public process and the needs and value of businesses and tribes that rely on Bristol Bay’s clean waters and sustainable fisheries in favor of profits for foreign mining companies is not only short-sighted, but moves our nation further away from energy independence and our goals to mitigate climate change; and

WHEREAS, Bristol Bay salmon are caught by Seattle-based fishers and served by Seattle restaurants and retailers, powering more than 3,160 Washington jobs each year and generating $580 million in economic impact to the state; and

WHEREAS, the Seattle Restaurant Alliance and dozens of Seattle businesses have joined the Businesses for Bristol Bay coalition to urge the administration not to pick winners and losers in our economy and to refrain from allowing the mining industry to negatively impact the businesses that call Seattle home and rely on Bristol Bay; NOW, THEREFORE,


Section 1. The Seattle City Council is deeply concerned by the destruction of natural habitats by mining in general and is specifically troubled by the proposed Pebble Mine in Bristol Bay, Alaska. The Seattle City Council requests the Office of Intergovernmental Relations to communicate this resolution to the federal government, including the White House, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, U.S. Office of the Interior, Senator Patty Murray, and Senator Maria Cantwell.

Section 2. The Seattle City Council requests that the federal permitting process for the Pebble Mine be suspended until sufficient environmental and scientific data can be collected to understand its potential impacts on the waters of Bristol Bay.

Section 3. The Seattle City Council requests that all current and future federal permitting processes for the proposed Pebble Mine include sufficient opportunities for input by Native tribes and by the people and businesses of Seattle, many of whom rely upon Bristol Bay and its waters.

Adopted by the City Council the ________ day of _________________________, 2018, and signed by me in open session in authentication of its adoption this ________ day of _________________________, 2018.


President ____________ of the City Council

The Mayor concurred the ________ day of _________________________, 2018.


Jenny A. Durkan, Mayor

Filed by me this ________ day of _________________________, 2018.


Monica Martinez Simmons, City Clerk