“This decision is a disgrace to Alaskans and Americans.”
Today’s Key Takeaway: A potential preemptive veto highlights the hypocrisy of the Biden Administration – claiming to recognize a need for copper and a desire to lower global emissions but blocking development of domestic production that in turn allows countries with low or no environmental standards to meet the demand and increase global emissions. Kudos to the Dunleavy administration for challenging the legality of the decision.
Alaska Miners Association reacts to EPA’s ongoing preemptive veto of Pebble Project
Anchorage, AK – The Alaska Miners Association is outraged at today’s decision by the Environmental Protection Agency to preemptively veto the Pebble Project. The Recommended Determination to restrict the use of waters within 309 square miles around the Pebble Deposit is yet one more occurrence in a decade-long string of actions by the agency that has put politics above science and process.
Following attempts to veto the Pebble Project in 2012, in 2018 the Pebble Partnership entered the federal permitting process, in which the EPA was involved extensively. Permitting spanned two years and concluded with an Environmental Impact Statement that stated mining could be done without negative impacts to the fishery. In a purely political move, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers then denied the innovative mitigation activities proposed by Pebble for their Clean Water Act Section 404 permit, a decision that is still under appeal. This decision by the EPA fully constitutes a preemptive veto of not just the proposed Pebble Project, but of any future development to what is a massive State of Alaska asset.
“The roller coaster of actions based on politics and not science and law has put Alaska and the United States in a perilous position with investors questioning whether to expend major capital into resource and economic development projects,” said Deantha Skibinski, AMA’s executive director. “Make no mistake, any project on the horizon with any sort of associated opposition will be next. This could apply to a mine, a road, oil exploration, a wastewater treatment plant, a wind farm – it makes no difference. The EPA’s actions have started us down a slippery slope and those that oppose development in our nation are paying attention. The arguments used against Pebble will become the norm for stopping development as many in the mining industry are already seeing similar arguments and actions at other projects in the U.S.”
AMA commented on the EPA’s proposed Determination in September and urged Region 10 to reject actions that lead to a preemptive veto, and allow the regulatory process to proceed to completion.
“It is astonishing that the Biden Administration can publicly recognize the massive need for increased mineral production to achieve its renewable energy goals yet take actions that block development of the domestic mineral deposits that would significantly contribute to those needs,” said Skibinski. “Copper is an essential mineral for any renewable energy source, and Pebble is one of the most significant sources of copper in the nation and around the world. Improperly shutting down the opportunity at Pebble puts the nation’s green goals at risk, and the biggest beneficiary of this will be adversarial foreign countries that lack environmental and social values. This decision is a disgrace to Alaskans and Americans.”