A U.S. House Committee plans to examine whether the EPA unfairly blocked the Pebble Mine in Southwest Alaska with a so-called “pre-emptive veto,” before the mine has even applied for permits.
The Science, Space and Technology Committee, chaired by Republican Lamar Smith of Texas, has invited consultant William Cohen as a witness. Cohen, a former Defense secretary hired by Pebble, says the EPA’s actions suggest the agency may have rigged the process to reach the position it wanted to take against the mine.
Mine opponents, though, say the EPA followed a rigorous process and used valid science to conclude the mine would endanger the headwaters of Bristol Bay and its rich salmon runs.
The congressional hearing is scheduled for Nov. 5. It’s unclear if the EPA’s Northwest regional director, Dennis McLerran, will be a witness at the hearing. Chairman Smith wants McLerran to answer questions from committee staff beforehand about the process the EPA followed.
The only witnesses named so far are Cohen and another consultant who worked on the report he authored.
- The featured ingredient in these new gluten-free “protein noodles” might surprise you: It’s pollock, the unassuming whitefish caught by the millions in the Bering Sea off Alaska’s coast.
- It’s going to be a busy year for Donlin Gold. The company is gearing up for another round of geotechnical drilling — its first in two years.
- The deadline is May 3 for the public to submit suggestions for the most cost-effective way to dispose of the Lumberman. The tugboat is anchored on state tidelands across from Egan Drive.
- American Rivers, a national advocacy group opposed to mining and energy development in wilderness areas, says the two Southeast Alaska rivers are "at a crossroads."