If you read their press releases recently, you would get the impression that the Pebble Limited Partnership is having a very good bit of luck. That’s because a bought-and-paid for “independent” report by former Defense Secretary William Cohen stated that the company was treated “unfairly” by the Environmental Protection Agency and the people of Bristol Bay.
With all due respect to Mr. Cohen, who is neither a scientist nor a legal expert, a review of Pebble’s hand-selected documents and a flyover will not come close to really evaluating Bristol Bay or how its people feel about the potential development of colossal open pit hard rock mine in their backyard. Rather, Mr. Cohen’s “report” is simply the latest in a long line of Pebble-backed propaganda—with the mining company playing the role of innocent victim, and Bristol Bay’s residents the villains.
The report argues a traditional mining review process should have been undertaken in Bristol Bay. Tellingly, however, the report agrees that the EPA’s proposed Clean Water Act restrictions on Pebble’s development are completely, 100 percent legal. Given this, the best the report can muster is that the EPA acted “unfairly” toward Pebble and “blocked” the traditional mining review process from commencing. In reality, the only thing stopping this process is Pebble itself.
Every year, for nearly 10 years now, Pebble has promised to submit its permit applications and begin the review process. Each year we’ve waited in vain for Pebble to file a permit application even though it is clear from their reports to their shareholders and to the Securities Exchange Commission they know the type and grade of the deposit, the location and the method of mining required to develop the deposit. After years of waiting, our tribes petitioned the EPA to protect our watershed and others also began to wonder why Pebble hadn’t applied for permits. Even Senator Murkowski, in a letter to Pebble’s executives, pushed the company to be transparent and file for permits. Still, year’s later, nothing.
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