Last Friday, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) took another step in its continuing anti-development agenda with the release of their draft Bristol Bay Watershed Assessment. Although the EPA states that this “draft study does not provide an in-depth assessment of any specific mining project,” its intent seems clear–to provide environmental activists with a new weapon to stop any development in the US.
While the EPA has used negative watershed assessments to veto wetlands permits the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers has been prepared to issue, this latest move by the EPA seeks to establish a new precedent. Instead of looking at an actual application, the Bristol Bay Watershed Assessment finds that the hypothetical impact of a hypothetical mining project located in a 20,000 square mile area of Southwest Alaska would have “adverse impacts on the productivity and sustainability of the salmon fishery in the watershed.”
The target of this report is obviously the Pebble Limited Partnership, a company that has spent over $140 million over many years to research their Pebble Mine project in the area. They have not yet, however, applied for permits or presented a mine plan, which would show how they plan to avoid sensitive areas and mitigate potential environmental impacts. If the EPA uses this study to justify killing the Pebble Mine, it short-circuits the existing regulatory process and deprives the PLP of due process, robbing them of the chance to present their case for responsible development. Even worse, it opens the door to allowing the EPA to preemptively stop all development requiring federal approval under the Clean Water Act.
This power grab must be stopped! If this abuse goes unchecked it will have a chilling effect on the over $200 billion in annual investment that relies on such permits (logging, manufacturing, construction, energy, mining, etc.) and wreak havoc on the entire American economy. If the EPA is allowed to exclude any and all development activity to entire regions on the basis of reports they themselves create, they have transformed the power to review permits into the ability to prohibit development wholesale.
The EPA has announced it is starting the comment period on the Bristol Bay study next Thursday here in Seattle. If we don’t take a stand, the facts and science are no longer relevant. The EPA will kill projects at will. Your voice is needed.
The first step is to study up on the Bristol Bay Project. The EPA link is HERE.
Next, tell your friends. Post on FaceBook, Twitter and forward this email to your lists.
Attend the public hearing in Seattle, Thursday, May 31 at 2pm, Jackson Federal Building, 915 2nd Avenue, Seattle.
Provide comments. Here is information from the EPA website:
[featured photo credit: NASA Goddard Photo and Video]