Process? Who Needs It When Pebble is Involved?

Process? Who Needs It When Pebble is Involved?

April 8, 2021

If it wasn’t so potentially damaging, it would almost be comical.

The fear-over-facts crowd that offers crazed commentary on how Alaska’s Pebble Project would somehow ruin the Bristol Bay salmon fishery has spent over fifteen years spreading false propaganda. 

What was once a rag-tag group of tribes and fishermen were buoyed by millions upon millions of dollars from radical environmentalists and their affiliated foundations.  Even Trout Unlimited has jumped into the fray (remember that the next time they ask you for membership!), financing the “Save Bristol Bay” organization and its rabid, anti-development mission.

Which brings us to the latest in the “let’s put politics ahead of sound public process” move.

This week, a group of eco-centric asset management firms, progressive religious orders and left-of-center “rights” organizations penned a letter to EPA Director Michael Regan and Congress, asking for permanent protections on the Bristol Bay watershed by not only permanently vetoing the project under the EPA’s 404(c) section of the Clean Water Act, but also by having Congress designate the Watershed as a National Fisheries Area.

This letter comes during deliberations by the US Army Corps of Engineers, whose science-based, non-political Environmental Impact Statement clearly stated that Pebble could co-exist with fish.  Following that publication, the process was politically hijacked, and the Corps found itself mired in controversy, as it went against its own scientific study and astonishingly denied Pebble its federal permit.  Pebble, of course, appealed, and the Corps’ Pacific Command is considering that petition currently.

It is apparent by the actions earlier this week that extremist organizations, misguided asset firms and their friends across the anti-development spectrum have no desire for the process to play out.  That’s too bad for the 1000 potential jobs associated with Pebble, for the hundreds of millions in local and state royalties Pebble would bring, and the transparency of a federal process that is clearly in the crosshairs once again.