Energy & Environment Daily, a subscription based news service covering the political aspects of our nation’s energy & environmental policy issues, has another long story on the fate of the Pebble Mine, and the EPA’s presence in Alaska:
At issue, [Alaska Republican Representative Don] Young said, is EPA Region 10 Administrator Dennis McLerran claiming more than 90 percent support for a pre-emptive veto of Pebble LP’s proposed gold and copper mine near valuable salmon fisheries in southwestern Alaska.
“The vast majority of these so-called ‘comments’ did not come from the people who should be involved in making a decision — Alaskans,” Young said in a statement. “In fact, an overwhelming majority of the comments were actually mass messages sent by radical environmental groups.”
“The proposed mine is located on state of Alaska lands, and to let the EPA come into Alaska and mull pre-emptively vetoing this project before the permitting process even begins,” Young said, “would make a mockery of both the federal and state of Alaska permitting processes.”
Several groups, including the Alaska Miners Association and the Alaska State Chamber of Commerce, jumped on board with Young’s statements.
“The debate should be between Alaskans, and the outcome should be determined by the facts and the science through established processes, not the ability of activist organizations to overload the EPA’s email inbox with spam,” said Kathryn Thomas, board member of the pro-mine group Truth About Pebble.
Resourceful Earth has written about this previously, the campaign by environmental activists to equate their mass chain letters with the opinions represented by native Alaskans. And to be sure, there are some in Alaska who will unilaterally oppose Pebble (such as the fisherman), but there are also many who want the job opportunities or just want to see increased economic activity in their towns.
Regardless, it would be very unwise to allow professional environmental groups to pressure the EPA into preemptively denying a permit that has not yet been applied for, ensuring that the mine has no chance of ever being built.
Though the piece is behind a paywall, it ends:
Young himself has not made up his mind about the mine but is in favor of moving forward with the permitting process and skeptical of EPA involvement.
“As I have said from the outset, I am reserving judgment on the Pebble Mine until the permitting process runs its course,” Young said.