Trump administration to reconsider allowing controversial Alaska mining project

Trump administration to reconsider allowing controversial Alaska mining project
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Trump administration is again opening the door to the controversial Pebble Mine project in Alaska.

The Environmental Protection Agency announced Wednesday that it will restart consideration of the mining project, which was previously promised by former EPA head Scott PruittEdward (Scott) Scott PruittOVERNIGHT ENERGY: House Democrats chart course to 'solving the climate crisis' by 2050 | Commerce Department led 'flawed process' on Sharpiegate, watchdog finds | EPA to end policy suspending pollution monitoring by end of summer Watchdog: EPA hasn't provided 'sufficient justification' for decision not to recover Pruitt travel spending OVERNIGHT ENERGY: DOJ whistleblower says California emissions probe was 'abuse of authority' | EPA won't defend policy blocking grantees from serving on boards | Minnesota sues Exxon, others over climate change MORE but paused.

“Today’s step is a move toward good government decision making, which we owe under the law to both the public and project proponents,” EPA General Counsel Matthew Leopold said in a statement. 

The memo, signed by Leopold, means the Trump administration is looking into pulling the 2014 Obama administration proposal to block Pebble Mine. The EPA at the time said it would be too harmful to streams that flow into Bristol Bay, which hosts the largest Salmon fishery in the world, among other ecologically important features.

In January 2018, Pruitt made a surprising announcement that the EPA would not pursue its plans to do away with the Obama-era proposal to restrict the mining located nearly 200 miles from Anchorage. Pruitt had previously moved in May 2018 to withdraw the Obama administration’s proposal to block the mine under the Clean Water Act.


Instead in a statement, Pruitt warned mining in the region would “likely pose a risk to the abundant natural resources that exist there.”

“Until we know the full extent of that risk, those natural resources and world-class fisheries deserve the utmost protection. Today’s action allows EPA to get the information needed to determine what specific impacts the proposed mining project will have on those critical resources,” he said.

Leopold Wednesday said EPA will reconsider reversing the Obama-era proposed moratorium on mining at the southwest Alaska watershed in light of a recent Environmental Impact Statement which he said, “is a large volume of information that EPA did not have previously.”