The Biden administration’s latest action under the federal Clean Water Act against Project Pebble would prevent the project from even having a chance to go through a fair and comprehensive permitting process. Alaska Governor Mike Dunleavy is warning Alaskans of the implications for Alaska’s mining industry as a whole.
“Mining provides some of the highest paying jobs in the state. Jobs that have never been more needed by Alaskan families to survive record high food and gas prices under the policies of the Biden administration,” said Governor Dunleavy. “The EPA’s action could very well become the blueprint for stopping future mines in Alaska and across the country. Alaska will not be intimidated by Washington DC bureaucrats.
EPA’s arbitrary and unilateral decision violates the Clean Water Act’s intent to place such decisions under the primary authority of individual states (“It is the policy of Congress to recognize, preserve, and protect the rights of states to plan the development and use of land and water resources.”) Sec. 101(b). The EPA’s action also breaks promises made to Alaska by the federal government in the Statehood Act.
“As we host the Alaska Sustainable Energy Conference this week, it’s important to remember that sustainable energy, from wind turbines to photovoltaics to transmission lines, requires copper mining.” , said Jason Brune, commissioner of the Department of Environmental Conservation. “This mining should be done right here in Alaska, where we emphasize coexistence with our environment better than anyone. Today’s announcement only furthers this development in the third world.
“This proposal should alarm all Alaskans,” said Department of Natural Resources Commissioner Corri Feige.. “The EPA says it can simply sweep and veto any project it doesn’t like for political reasons. It puts state rights on a very slippery slope. Pebble may be that target today, but what comes next?
Specifically, Congress promised the State of Alaska that the state would receive both ownership of the minerals in the subsoil of state lands and “[t]he has the right to prospect mine and remove it. Second. 6(i). Alaskans negotiated hard and fought for the right to own state lands, own the minerals beneath those lands, and extract minerals for the benefit of all Alaskans. The federal government agreed, but now wants to break that promise.
EPA Region 10 is seeking public comment on the proposed ruling at public hearings in June and in writing through July 5. Information on how to provide public comments is available at www.epa.gov/bristolbay
“I encourage all Alaskans to support a comprehensive permitting process, responsible resource development, and good jobs for our state by commenting on this proposed decision,” added Governor Dunleavy.