EPA kills proposed Obama-era Pebble mine 'veto'

EPA kills proposed Obama-era Pebble mine 'veto'
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The Environmental Protection Agency announced Tuesday it will reverse an Obama-era decision to block a controversial Alaska mine project.

“After today’s action EPA will focus on the permit review process for the Pebble Mine project” Region 10 Administrator Chris Hladick said in a statement.

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“The agency has worked closely with the Army Corps to engage with stakeholders and the public on this issue, which has resulted in an expansive public record, including specific information about the proposed mining project that did not exist in 2014,” Hladick added.

While the EPA is withdrawing the 2014 determination, which it wrote “was issued preemptively and is now outdated,” the withdrawal does not constitute an approval of the permit application or a determination in the permitting process.

“Instead, it allows EPA to continue working with the Corps to review the current permit application and engage in the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) process,” the statement reads.

The EPA announced in June it would resume consideration of the mining project, which former EPA head Scott PruittEdward (Scott) Scott PruittOvernight Energy: House stimulus aims to stem airline pollution | Environmental measures become sticking point in Senate talks | Progressives propose T 'green stimulus' Court sides with scientists on EPA policy barring grantees from serving on agency boards Overnight Energy: Senate energy bill stalled amid amendment fight | Coronavirus, oil prices drive market meltdown | Green groups say Dem climate plan doesn't go far enough MORE had also promised.

“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 June statement.

The Obama EPA said the proposed mine would have a harmful effect on streams that feed Bristol Bay, which includes the world’s largest salmon fishery, and in 2018 Pruitt announced the EPA would not seek to do away with the Obama-era decision.

“Until we know the full extent of that risk, those natural resources and world-class fisheries deserve the utmost protection,” Pruitt said at the time.