IVC had many visitors as summer segued into fall. The first was an assessor from USDA to conduct a vulnerability analysis and certify our Priority Measures Plan for the Water Treatment Plant. Then, Corey Arnold, a photographer and journalist with Outside Magazine, and his companion Eugenie a blogger for Modern Farmer, visited our greenhouse. The Alaska Department of Transportations’ new Southwest area planner and leasing specialists visited to see first-hand the airport improvements needed in Igiugig. Tim Troll and his team stopped in for three weeks to conduct fish surveys in the area. Nanginaaq Productions completed documentary filming of elder Mary Olympic, during which time I had the opportunity to fly to Kukaklek Lake and listen to stories about my grandmother. For this project, I owe an enormous thank you to Royal Wolf Lodge c/o Chris and Linda Branham, and also Tim Troll for providing modes of transportation for our group. At the same time, we had filmers from Earth Justice visit Igiugig to interview council members on our sustainability efforts and renewable energy projects. Needless to say, if we do not see cameras for a long time that would be good.
I also survived another birthday season in our household. Fewnia and Dolly Ann turned 13 and 14 (oh my!) and then we celebrated Erika (2) and Jem (3) together in August. On August 11, a planeload of Igiugig folks flew to Newhalen for Cindy and Gerald Andrew’s wedding. It was beautiful and I’m so happy for my cousin and former babysitter.
For the first time I attended the Pebble Limited Partnership’s Elder Forum in Anchorage. There were approximately 210 people total, including 18 youth that escorted elders. I was impressed at the care our Bristol Bay elders received both traveling to, and during the conference. There were even Yup’ik translators, with headphone sets for elders that needed them. The two translators were Melvin Andrew and Dan Nanalook Jr. PLP began the forum when approached by elders to form an Elders Advisory Committee. The committee is comprised of 10 representatives of each sub-region, with two selected by Mr. Shively at-large. The Elder Advisory Committee has met with PLP management, toured a mine, attended the Alaska Miner’s Conference, and attended all Keystone sessions. The focus of the Elders Advisory Committee was primarily for subsistence, however, PLP quickly learned that the elders are equally concerned about jobs for the next generation. So now they encompass three major topics: subsistence, workforce development, and reporting back to the region.
The group of Igiugig elders and I listened to presentations on a variety of topics, including an introduction from each of the Community Associates working in the region, an update on the petition to list Iliamna Seals as endangered, and “The Economics of Pebble” a report prepared by IHS Global Insight. “Pebble means more than minerals,” there will be 3,450 construction jobs during the first 5 years and 2,090 production jobs +/- 20 years. These will be significant salaries, with an average of $75k for the construction field, and $100k for the production field. CEO John Shively presented that the mine could more than double Alaska mining tax revenue. Revenue from Pebble to the State could multiply up to six-fold once production is underway, and could contribute to the Permanent Fund. It could also increase revenues to the Lake and Peninsula Borough by more than 600%, from $4.2M to $29M. I enjoyed elder Carl Jensen’s humor and wisdom when he spoke: “It’s human nature to want more, whatever it is…I appreciate Pebble allowing us to get together today…I feel like my opinion about Pebble’s operation doesn’t really affect anyone. We are all individuals whether we get together in a group or not.”
Back at the office, post-conference and family vacation, our team was able to submit grant applications to USDA-RD-RUS for the purposed of repairing the Bulk Fuel Farm, to Alaska Housing Finance Corporation to build a duplex designated for teacher, health and safety professionals, and to the Pebble Fund to assist with the duplex. We also attended a BBNC Shareholder Informational meeting on September 6.
So with that you have the latest report, a nice balance of administrative work and free time.