Dozens of students, staff, visitors and faculty felt they were misled and pressured into signing a petition funded by the Pebble Project. Students and others report having been aggressively solicited for signatures on the mornings of Monday, Sept. 17 and Tuesday, Sept. 18. Passersby were approached around the Rasmuson Library and Greuning Building by three men and asked to sign a petition that they were told would ensure that an environmental review would take place before a mine at the Pebble site can be built. The petition was actually paid for by the Pebble Partnership and supports allowing Pebble to complete a permitting process before the Environmental Protection Agency takes any action.
The signature gatherers were paid $2.50 per signature with a bonus after 500 signatures, according to a craigslist.org employment ad for a signature collector job dated Aug. 16. Though the advertisement does not specify what organization the potential employee would be working for, Nance Larsen, the Communication Manager of the Pebble project confirmed that the telephone number listed on the ad was associated with their organization. No one at this number has answered or returned calls from the Sun Star.
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Here is the actual petition text:
Petition text: "STAND UP FOR ALASKA The Pebble Project should be allowed to go through a rigorous permitting process, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency should not take action on Pebble prior to evaluation of an actual project proposal."