Donald Trump Jr., in a break from his father’s politics, has come out against the controversial proposed Pebble Mine in Southwest Alaska.
The president’s eldest son posted to his official Twitter account Tuesday as he retweeted an anti-Pebble post from Nick Ayers, another well-known conservative and former chief staff to Vice President Mike Pence.
“Like many conservationists and sportsmen, I am hoping @realDonaldTrump will direct @EPA to block the Pebble mine in Bristol Bay. A Canadian company will unnecessarily mine the USA’s greatest fishery at a severe cost. This should be stopped and I believe POTUS will do so,” Ayers posted to his official Twitter account Tuesday.
A few hours later, Trump Jr. publicly stated he agreed with Ayers’ concerns.
“As a sportsman who has spent plenty of time in the area I agree 100%,” Trump Jr. wrote. “The headwaters of Bristol Bay and the surrounding fishery are too unique and fragile to take any chances with. #PebbleMine.”
This follows a report from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which has stated that the mine “would not be expected to have a measurable effect on fish numbers” in the Bristol Bay area, which is one of the largest natural fisheries in the world.
The issue of whether to allow the mine to move forward is one that has been hotly contested for years.
Alaska’s Republican congressional delegation has, in the past, taken a soft stance on the issue, voicing support for the mine if damage to the fishery can be prevented. Environmental groups and the Bristol Bay Native Corp. say harm to the fishery cannot be ruled out.
Decades-long Republican Rep. Don Young blasted a House vote earlier this year to suspend funding for the Pebble permitting process.
Alaska Republican Sen. Dan Sullivan’s nonpartisan frontrunner opponent, Dr. Al Gross, issued a statement Tuesday calling for Sullivan to take a stance against the mine, which Gross calls “dangerous.”
Former Alaska Gov. Bill Walker took a firm stance against the proposed mine in 2017 after Pebble CEO Tom Collier announced the company’s first public plan for the mine in October of that year.
Following the green light report from the Army Corps last week and the subsequent swell in vocal opposition or support from stakeholder groups across the country, Alaska Republican Gov. Mike Dunleavy sought to assuage vocal concerns of environmental risks, noting the process was far from complete.
“The Pebble Partnership has not even initiated the state permitting process and is not expected to do so until a record of decision is released by the Corps of Engineers later this year,” he said. “When that happens, the Pebble Project will undergo a thorough, fact-based analysis by the appropriate state agencies to determine if it meets Alaska’s high standards for environmental protection.”
Dunleavy flew to Washington, D.C. last month to participate in a celebration of the Trump administration’s rollback of some of the regulations written to implement the 50-year-old National Environmental Policy Act. In a two-minute address on the White House lawn, Dunleavy said the deregulation helps support “the American Dream.”