Alaska's proposed Pebble Mine Project, one of the world’s largest undeveloped copper and gold deposits, is approaching the final stage of its permitting process. After recently receiving a positive environmental review from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the project is anticipated to receive a final Record of Decision from the Trump Administration in the coming weeks.
ATR and a coalition of conservative organizations have consistently argued that Pebble Mine, like all other proposed projects, should be evaluated based upon a proper and well-established environmental review process. Its approval would decrease America’s reliance on foreign nations for critical minerals while creating thousands of new jobs in a community that needs them, now more than ever.
Radical environmentalists bent on obstructing Pebble Mine’s permitting process have found no shortage of excuses to oppose the project, but the most commonly raised concern is the project’s alleged impact on the native salmon population.
This concern was rightly considered by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. In accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act, the Army Corps recently issued its Final Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) and directly contradicted claims that the mine posed a significant threat to the area’s salmon population. The final EIS concluded that “no long-term measurable changes in the number of returning salmon are expected, nor is genetic diversity expected to change.”
Pebble Mine cleared its final environmental review without issue. Any lingering claims from the environmental-left that the proposed mine poses a significant threat to salmon in the area are without merit, according to the Army Corps’ review.
President Trump has rightly taken issue with the existing permitting process he inherited, a process that bogs down critical infrastructure and energy development projects with red tape. Last month, President Trump took action to speed up our nation’s permitting process by establishing time limits for an EIS to be conducted.
Pebble Mine is the poster-child of critical projects delayed by a broken permitting process. The Obama Administration went as far as issuing a preemptive veto to prevent the mine from even receiving a proper environmental review. Last year, the Trump Administration righted this wrong by withdrawing Obama’s preemptive veto, allowing the project to move through the standard review process.
President Trump can continue the restoration of a proper permitting process by ignoring the calls of environmental activists who oppose all development projects and instead allow for Pebble Mine’s final Record of Decision to be based upon the merits of the Army Corps’ review.