The editorial claims that environmentalists are subverting the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), which governs certain development permits, by pushing for a pre-emptive veto of the mine, worth about $55 billion in deposits, under the Clean Water Act.
Written by Pebble Partnership CEO John Shively, the editorial blasts a potential veto as “unprecedented and legally dubious”, and specifically attacks the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC).
The council is having no truck with that, however.
“Complete nonsense,” said NRDC attorney and Pebble mine campaign chief Joel Reynolds to the International Business Times, describing Shively’s arguments. “The notion that the EPA or any other federal agency with lawful jurisdiction can’t reject a project without going through a NEPA process is frivolous.”
“In this case, the Clean Water Act gives the EPA the authority, without question, to protect the Bristol Bay watershed from large-scale mining,” he continued.
Southern Alaska’s Bristol Bay region is at stake for the thousands opposing the giant mine.
Activists say that the region houses a salmon fishing industry worth at least 12,000 jobs and $1.5 billion annually, and that mining could have disastrous environmental impacts.
Reynolds pointed out that similar vetoes have already been used thirteen times since the Clean Water Act became law four years ago, even if it is used only on select projects.
Read the full story at the International Business Times>>