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.
- Numbers from the Alaska Department of Labor and Workforce Development say the state's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate fell from 7.2 percent to 7.1 percent in June.
- The historic Mill Building may look quite different this time next year, thanks to a grant from the Rasmuson Foundation and, the center hopes, some matching local funds.
- A Southern Cheyenne woman found no solid data on the many indigenous women in the U.S. and Canada who have gone missing or been killed under suspicious circumstances. So she compiled it herself.
- MGM Resorts International is seeking to prevent lawsuits from being filed against it related to the mass shooting in Las Vegas last year, including in Alaska federal court.