Morning Headlamp – Doublespeak from the Speaker of the House Bryce Edgmon

The Harder the Battle the Sweeter the Victory. The Environmental Protection Agency has settled an ongoing lawsuit with the Pebble Limited Partnership and says the company can apply for a federal permit for its proposed massive gold and copper mine in the Bristol Bay watershed. Key points of the settlement include:

  • PLP can proceed into normal course permitting under the Clean Water Act and National Environmental Policy Act
  • PLP will need to file permit applications within 30 months
  • EPA cannot seek to utilize its CWA 404c veto authority until an EIS has been completed – unless the EIS is not completed within 48 months of the date of this settlement
  • EPA has further agreed to initiate a process to consider withdrawing the Proposed Determination it issued in July 2014
  • PLP has agreed to terminate our legal actions against the EPAHeadlamp recognizes this isn’t just a victory for the Project, it’s a victory for the process!

Opponents of Pebble Call on EPA to Deny Development. On Thursday, nine officials from the Bristol Bay region, including Alaska House Speaker Bryce Edgmon, D-Dillingham, participated in a news teleconference in Dillingham as a show of unity against the gold and copper prospect, urging the EPA to halt development.

Headlamp is extremely disappointed to see the Speaker of the House, who is spending his time growing the size of state government and looking for new revenue to support the habit, attempt to stop a project that would bring jobs and revenue not only to the region, but the state. 

Proceed with Caution. Arctic nations have approved a document calling for global action to address climate change. But U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson says the United States continues to review its own policies and will not rush a decision on climate change policy.

Stay Strong and Carry On. The Alaska Senate approved a capital budget that appropriates $35 million less than Gov. Bill Walker’s proposal and $44 million less than last year’s budget, according to a release from the Senate majority, who referred to it as “lean.”  Headlamp applauds the Senate for making a commitment to reduce the size and scope of government before taxing Alaskans. 

Bi-Partisan Bill Diverts Natural Gas Pipeline Funds For Schools, Attorneys, Snowplows. The Alaska Senate on Thursday moved to spend $50 million from an account used for the state’s natural gas pipeline project, diverting the cash to programs popular across the political spectrum. The amendment to the state capital budget — from Wasilla Republican Sen. Mike Dunleavy — was approved unanimously and without discussion. If the state House agrees, the pipeline cash would bolster programs supported by both the Senate’s Democratic minority and its Republican-led majority. The amendment would send $10 million to the Alaska Department of Public Safety to hire more state troopers.  Another $5 million would help the Department of Law hire more prosecutors, whose ranks have fallen by more than 20 in the past three years. $10 million would go to the transportation department for road maintenance. The remaining $25 million would go into a state account earmarked for education.

 

First Reads

EPA reaches deal with Pebble mine developer
Alaska Dispatch News, Erica Martinson, May 12, 2017

Tillerson: US reviewing climate change policy

KTUU/The Associated Press, May 11, 2017

Pebble opponents call on EPA to deny developer a deal

Alaska Dispatch News, Alex DeMarban, May 12, 2017

In bipartisan move, Alaska Senate diverts pipeline cash to schools, prosecutors, snowplows

Alaska Dispatch News, Nathaniel Herz, May 11, 2017

Science cooperation promised in newly signed Arctic Council agreement
Alaska Dispatch News, Yereth Rosen, May 11, 2017

Alaska Senate approves capital budget
KTVA, May 11, 2017