EPA makes final determination on Pebble Mine in the Clean Water Protection Act

    Washington, D.C. (KINY) - Today the EPA published its final determination regarding the development of Pebble Mine in the Clean Water Act effectively vetoing the project.

    Representative Peltola (D-Alaska) joined hundreds of organizations in celebrating the Environmental Protection Agency's decision to use a Section 404C Final Determination of the Clean Water Act to protect Bristol Bay and prevent the development of the proposed Pebble Mine.

    "Rebuilding our salmon runs and protecting our fish was the number one reason I decided to run for Congress,” Representative Peltola said. “Today, the EPA listened to Alaskans and helped us do just that. Protecting Bristol Bay, and the world’s largest sockeye salmon fishery, has been a bipartisan effort from the very beginning. After decades of regulatory uncertainty, I hope that this ruling gives the people who live and work in Bristol Bay the stability and peace of mind they deserve and the confidence that this incredible salmon run will no longer be threatened. I also understand that some Alaskans might be disappointed by this decision. To all of you, know that I am committed to our state’s development and to helping local communities build robust economies with good-paying jobs.”

    Senators Lisa Murkowski and Dan Sullivan, both R-Alaska, weighed in with their thoughts on the EPA's decision.

    “EPA’s final determination should mark the end of Pebble, which was already rejected by the agency in 2020 and does not have the access, permits, financing, public support, or disposal sites needed to proceed," Senator Murkowski said. "As Senator Stevens once said, it is the ‘wrong mine in the wrong place,’ and does not deserve to move forward—for good reason."

    "To be clear: I oppose Pebble. To be equally clear: I support responsible mining in Alaska, which is a national imperative," Senator Murkowski said. "This determination must not serve as precedent to target any other project in our state and must be the only time EPA ever uses its veto authority under the Clean Water Act in Alaska."

    "I opposed the Pebble Mine following the Trump administration’s thorough, fair, and objective process—based on science—which ultimately denied Pebble’s permit application,” Senator Sullivan said. “The Trump administration denial was based on the law and the specific and detailed project application in front of the federal agencies, and the importance of the world-class salmon resource that exists in the region.

    “Today, the Biden administration is doing something different—using a pre-emptive veto, which raises serious legal questions and has the potential to establish a very troubling precedent for resource development on State of Alaska lands. Since my time as Alaska’s attorney general, I have consistently argued that the EPA does not have the authority to subvert the permitting process and pre-emptively veto this, or any, project in Alaska. I pressed the EPA administrator to acknowledge that today’s EPA decision does not set a precedent for other major mining and resource projects in Alaska, which he did publicly today. I encourage other Alaska elected leaders to join me in holding the entire Biden administration to this public commitment.”

    Alaska Governor Mike Dunleavy expressed similar thoughts as those said by Senator Sullivan that the EPA's 'veto' of the project sets a dangerous precedent.

    “EPA’s veto sets a dangerous precedent. Alarmingly, it lays the foundation to stop any development project, mining or non-mining, in any area of Alaska with wetlands and fish-bearing streams,” Governor Dunleavy said. “My Administration will stand up for the rights of Alaskans, Alaska property owners, and Alaska’s future.”

    "The State of Alaska has a responsibility to develop its resources to provide for itself and its people,” Governor Dunleavy said. “Alaska does resource development better than any other place on the planet, and our opportunities to show the world a better way to extract our resources should not be unfairly preempted by the federal Government.”

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