Mine company worked closely with Alaska governor to push for restriction rollback: report

Mine company worked closely with Alaska governor to push for restriction rollback: report
© Office of Michael Dunleavy

A mining company worked closely with Alaska Gov. Mike Dunleavy (R) to push the Trump administration for a reversal of an Obama-era restriction on a mine, CNN reported Friday.

The network, citing documents it obtained, reported that Pebble Limited Partnership ghostwrote letters for Dunleavy and gave his office strategies on how to lobby for action sought by the firm.

The network's report pointed to one letter sent by Dunleavy to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers that was nearly identical to a draft sent to his office by a company official. 

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The Obama administration had blocked the development of a gold and copper mine over concerns about wild sockeye salmon that are native to the area. In July, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced that it would reverse the blockage following a June meeting with Dunleavy and President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump passes Pence a dangerous buck Overnight Health Care — Presented by American Health Care Association — Trump taps Pence to lead coronavirus response | Trump accuses Pelosi of trying to create panic | CDC confirms case of 'unknown' origin | Schumer wants .5 billion in emergency funds Trump nods at reputation as germaphobe during coronavirus briefing: 'I try to bail out as much as possible' after sneezes MORE, according to CNN. 

The Hill has reached out to Dunleavy for comment.


A Pebble official defended the move in a statement to CNN.

"It is not unusual for interested parties to suggest language to elected officials that may be helpful in contesting poor public policy. What an administration chooses to do with the suggestion is entirely up to them," the company official told the network.

A Pebble spokesperson also told The Hill that it is currently in the federal permitting process. 
 
He added that the company has a "good relationship" with Dunleavy  "because he understands our industry and has repeatedly stated he wants a fair process for all resource projects in Alaska."

The governor also told CNN that "it is common practice for an administration to request briefing materials on a specific project."

"We work with groups, all industries to have conversations,” Dunleavy told local NBC affiliate KTUU. “But in terms of putting things out verbatim that’s not a rule of this administration and I’m not sure that’s a rule of any administration.”

An EPA spokesperson told The Hill in a statement that the agency's general counsel met with Pebble officials on two occasions, and also met with tribes, environmental groups, state and local officials and members of Congress.
 
The spokesperson added that the decision to remove the Obama-era measure blocking the mine doesn't mean a permit for the mine has been approved or "prejudge a particular outcome in the permitting process."