VICTORY! For Process, For Alaska, For Pebble

VICTORY!  For Process, For Alaska, For Pebble

July 24, 2020

The US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) released its final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) on the proposed Pebble Mine today, completing a fifteen-year process. The NEPA process that laid the foundation for the Pebble federal permitting project – called the “Magna Carta of environmental law” by the extremists at the National Resources Defense Council (NRDC), ultimately proved that science, and not feelings, is paramount.

With the mine, its backers and the public besieged by a blatant misinformation campaign since its inception – with tens of millions of dollars spent to vilify the project – today’s FEIS release signifies a clear victory for the NEPA process.  We saw today how a process should work; when it is left to scientists and experts, and not activists and obstructionists, to decide the fate of a proposed project.

Pebble CEO Tom Collier hailed the report and noted: “on the issue of fish, it unequivocally and repeatedly says there will be no significant damage.”  The “damage” factor had been the rallying cry of eco-extremists, who have pitched a narrative of fear that the mine could someday decimate the Bristol Bay salmon fishery.  The FEIS lays that to rest.

Groups such as Save Bristol Bay (a project of Trout Unlimited), the NRDC, Alaska Center (for the Environment) and Cook Inletkeeper are now left to criticize the very science and process they’ve been touting would kill the project.  (That has to be an awkward boardroom and coalition discussion, doesn’t it?)

Those groups will inevitably file lawsuits trying to overturn the pending record of decision, and they’ll rally anti-development legislators, activists and celebrities to continue the obstructionist tactics against the mine. But as of today, the prospects of Pebble being built look much more positive than in the past. 

The mine would employ approximately 2,000 people during the construction phase, and 1,000 or so full-time workers once operational.  It is an exceptionally large and high-grade mine for copper, gold and molybdenum.  Pebble could generate millions of dollars for the State of Alaska, and provide the Lake and Peninsula Borough with exponentially more revenue per year than they currently raise.

Once the record of decision is filed (sometime this fall), Pebble will still need to navigate the State of Alaska’s permitting process, as well as gain right-of-way approval for its transportation corridor.  Power The Future will continue to provide updates on the project, and looks forward to one day seeing the mine built and benefitting workers, nearby communities and the State of Alaska, while providing American mineral and rare earths needs for many years.