In Reversal, EPA Deals Setback To Pebble Mine In Alaska

"Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt announced late Friday that he will not scrap the agency’s 2014 determination that a large-scale mining operation could irreparably harm Alaska’s Bristol Bay water­shed.

His decision, which falls short of blocking a proposed gold and copper mine in the region outright, represents a surprising twist in a years-long battle that has pitted a Canadian-owned mining company against commercial fishing operators, native Alaskans and conservationists determined to protect the world’s largest sockeye salmon fishery.

Last spring, shortly after meeting with the top executive from the project’s main backer, Northern Dynasty Minerals, Pruitt directed EPA staff to revisit the Obama-era decision to short-circuit the project using a provision of the Clean Water Act. The 2014 decision came after several years of scientific study during which the EPA determined that the mining operation could cause “significant and irreversible harm” to the area’s fish habitat."

Juliet Eilperin and Brady Dennis report for the Washington Post January 26, 2018.


"In Reversal, EPA Suspends Alaska Mining Proposal To Preserve Watershed Protections" (NPR)

"EPA Halts Plans To Lift Proposed Mine Restrictions In Alaska" (AP)

"Bristol Bay: EPA About-Faces On Pebble, May Restrict Development" (Greenwire)

Source: Washington Post, 01/29/2018