The State of Alaska has decided to join a group seeking to develop a massive copper-gold mine by Bristol Bay in a lawsuit against the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for taking steps that could result in the project being limited or plainly forbidden.
Authorities are particularly critical of the EPA’s decision of initiating a rarely used process under the Clean Water Act that may block development of the Pebble mine, before any permit application has been filed.
“Perhaps the most troubling aspect of the EPA seeking to veto a hypothetical project before any permit application has been filed, is that it sets precedent for the EPA to take land anywhere in the United States and prematurely limit development of a valuable resource,” Attorney General Michael Geraghty said in a press release.
“The EPA’s action undermines Alaska’s ability to utilize its mineral resources to grow the economy and create jobs if, after detailed and lengthy environmental review, permitting is warranted,” he added.
The original lawsuit, filed by Pebble Limited Partnership, claims the agency s overused its statutory authority.
EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy said in February that the agency started the process because the Bristol Bay fishery “is an extraordinary resource and is worthy of out-of-the-ordinary agency actions to protect it.” She also stressed that no final decision had been made.
Anglo American (LON:AAL) left the project last September, handing its 50% stake in the project back to Northern Dynasty and taking a $300 million write down in the process. Rio Tinto (LON, ASX:RIO) followed Anglo’s steps last month, announcing it was donating its 19.1% stake in Northern Dynasty to two Alaskan charities.
Opponents have long said the environmental risks of the Pebble project outweigh the benefits, citing the potential for widespread damage if polluted water were to enter streams in the region. Northern Dynasty says the mine could be developed safely, and would boost Alaska’s economy with about 1,000 jobs through its operating life.
Another photo taken directly from an ENGO.
Having been in the North American hard rock mining business for more
than 50 years, I believe that the PRE-EMPTIVE actions of the EPA wrt the
world class Pebble deposit are nothing less than IGNORANT, and border
on CRIMINAL: stupidity beyond belief !
“Northern Dynasty says the mine could be developed safely, and would boost Alaska’s economy with about 1,000 jobs through its operating life.” Interesting. Fishing accounts for more jobs in Alaska than oil, gas, and mining combined. There are roughly 10,000 fishing jobs in Southeast Alaska alone. I’m sure the total number is nearly that or higher in Bristol Bay, i.e. 10 fishing jobs for every 1 potential mining job. I’m all for mining in appropriate places, as I come from a family of coal miners. But this mine is too big, and it’s in exactly the wrong place. We cannot be so short sighted as to trade perennial fish and food for a one-time mine.
Separate emotion and you have facts. get the emotions under control folks. People want the work and if there is a good sound mining plan, environmental plan then you get a win/win for all. Government needs to but out to a large degee and let Alaska deal with Alaskan issues.
It’s time , that government will protect people from the major dangers of life and not the annoyances. I believe the company should go to an international court where the judges loyalty will not be a point of compromise. The place is so remote and unworldly, there can be compromises that give both sides a modicum of what they want, nobody wants war or force to generate an equable result..
I would think that the EPA is a little late to the party, the land cannot be open to staking in the first place if it is in a place where a permit won’t even be considered. The lands in question cannot be available to to mineral very expensive exploration and engineering and then not be allowed to apply for a permit. Does the EPA not even know what needs protection and what doesn’t until somebody finds something and spends a billion on preparing for a permit? If a exploration project applied for development permits in the safest place on the planet and spent as little as the EPA did in their pre-emptive dismissal of pebble they would be shut down quickly, totally and likely permanently.
*sheesh* It sounds to me like the EPA is trying to save Northern Dynasty some money by telling them up front it’s time to cut their losses. And it sounds like the company’s decision makers don’t have enough plain old common sense to take the hint. I mean, okay, they’ve already spent more money on this project than most of us can even comprehend, and they’re the ones dumb enough to get left holding the bag after all their other business partners pulled out, but what’s the point of spending even *more* money and then having the project rejected anyway? Crazy dumb idiots. Guess they kind of deserve what they get, but it’s still painful to watch.