The mine’s environmental assessment predates the Mount Polley disaster. If the extension is granted, the assessment would be 12 years old by the time the developer got started.
The state’s opportunity to veto the project rests with the Department of Environmental Conservation. Its commissioner used to lobby for the Pebble Mine.
“The Corps finds that the project, as currently proposed, cannot be permitted under section 404 of the Clean Water Act,” the U.S. Army said in an official statement.
The Army Corps of Engineers issued new conditions for protecting wetlands and streams, but their letter does not prohibit the mine outright.
Biden said he stands by the Environmental Protection Agency’s Obama-era proposal to block the project under the Clean Water Act.
Pebble opponents hope the tweets are trial balloons from the White House.
The mine would be built at the headwaters of the Koktuli River drainage, and it would eliminate about 20% of available habitat there, though the Corps says that does not necessarily represent fish habitat.
Opponents say the environmental impact statement does not address impacts on fish streams.
Native corporations that own land along the mine’s transportation corridor say they’ll never grant Pebble permission to use their property.
All signs suggest the Army Corps of Engineers is likely to approve the permit application for the gold and copper mine.