Conservative Circular Firing Squad Politicizes Record of Decision and Imperils Pebble Mine

Conservative Circular Firing Squad Politicizes Record of Decision and Imperils Pebble Mine

November 30, 2020

As documented in Attachment B of this ROD, I have determined that the proposed discharge does not comply with the 404 (b)(1) Guidelines because the proposed project will result in significant degradation of the aquatic ecosystem.

I have concluded that the benefits of the proposed elimination and alteration of wetlands, streams and other waters within the USACE jurisdiction do not outweigh the detriments that would be caused by such eliminations and alterations, based upon the information contained with the FEIS, the extensive public comments received, and the analysis of the public interest review factors. As those eliminations and alterations would be necessary to realize any benefits from the proposed project, I have found that the proposed project is contrary to the public interest.

To some, the words above – written by Colonel Damon A. Delarosa from the US Army Corps of Engineers’ Alaska Division – were the culmination of the NEPA process for the Pebble Mine.  They represent a denial of a permit for Pebble’s developers to move forward with plans to mine the copper, gold, molybdenum and rhenium deposit found in Alaska’s vast wilderness.

But in reality, they represent so much more.

They represent the blatant disregard of the NEPA procedures by individuals who claim to be interested in process over politics and of science over fearmongering.

They represent the potential for hundreds of jobs for area residents, now lost – not because of process but of politics. Those jobs brought hope to the dozens of families already employed by Pebble throughout the last fifteen years.  What happens to them now?

They represent hundreds of millions of dollars of revenue to Borough and State government in royalty payments and corporate taxes.

They are a huge red STOP sign for any large-scale mining development in Alaska.  If the Corps can be infiltrated by the politically powerful, and take what was a clean Final Environmental Impact Statement that was issued in late July of this year – with clear scientific basis and an equally clear conclusion that the Mine wouldn’t harm fisheries over 100 miles away – only to deny the permit four months later, why would any future developer of any large-scale mining opportunity in the state trust the process?

They are clear indication that many Conservatives created a circular firing squad – made up of hypocrites who claim to want mineral and energy independence on one hand but who oppose the largest single mineral deposit in North America that would help those efforts – to shoot down the process from the inside, since the science-based results from the FEIS made it clear to any neutral party in the outside world that Pebble had earned the right to move forward.

Power The Future still sees Pebble, its opportunities and output, as worth fighting for.  We will continue to advocate for the responsible development of the project, in spite of what many of our normally-side-by-side friends say about it.  Because, in the end, the people who live around the site deserve the same opportunities for good-paying, stable, generation-changing jobs as you and I have been given the chance for.  They deserve to have science, not politics, decide their fate.  They deserve not to have those chances taken away by Conservatives who – at least in this case – forgot they stand for opportunity and not oppression.