Court Decision Means Pebble’s Fate is Delayed Once Again

Court Decision Means Pebble’s Fate is Delayed Once Again

November 2, 2021

When court decisions are released on Friday afternoons, they generally escape the eyes of the public.  After all, regardless of the season, people are getting ready to relax, enjoy time with their families and unwind from the workweek.  Focusing on court decisions?  That can wait until Monday.

However, when U.S. District Court Judge Sharon Gleason – a well-known darling of the eco-Left since her appointment to the federal bench by President Obama – issued a ruling late Friday, it sent shockwaves through the mining community in Alaska, and for all of the wrong reasons.

Ruling in favor of environmental groups – and against the State of Alaska and Pebble’s ownership group, Northern Dynasty Minerals – she said the courts weren’t responsible for putting a timeline on potential Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) actions, and that the EPA itself would determine when, if and to what levels it would seek to ‘protect’ the Bristol Bay fishery from mineral development.

Firmly stating that “neither the retention of jurisdiction pending remand nor the establishment of an administrative timetable by the Court is warranted in this case,” and remanding the matter to the EPA for action, is a cop-out response from a judge who hasn’t made many decisions in favor of responsible development over the past eight-plus years. 

Now, with her ruling, Gleason has allowed the EPA to drag out the timeline for attempting to thwart the mine under section 404(c) of the Clean Water Act, instead of setting a formal timeline.

Granting an unlimited delay tactic for the EPA allows radical environmental groups, misguided fishing lobbies and unscrupulous politics to continue to keep Pebble from moving forward. Apparently, they can put aside what experts say is a minimum of $1 trillion worth of copper, gold, molybdenum and rhenium lying beneath the surface of the project. These components are critical to both overturning the region’s crushing unemployment, as well as fulfilling part of the U.S.’s supply chain for its ‘green’ agenda.

For nearly seventeen years, the fight over Pebble has been fought and Gleason’s ill-advised decision will continue to keep Alaskans from the benefits of Pebble for who-knows-how long.  For that, she should be ashamed.