Responses to the Release of EPA’s Proposed Determination

EPA’s release on Friday of its Proposed Determination was the first opportunity for the public to see just how the Agency intends to limit adverse effects from large-scale mining at the Pebble deposit. Reactions to the proposed restrictions were varied, with some lauding the EPA for its efforts, and others arguing that EPA has no authority to impose conditions on development before permitting has begun.

Northern Dynasty Minerals (NDM): NDM is now the sole owner of the Pebble deposit, and CEO Ron Thiessen released a statement decrying EPA’s use of the 404(c) authority, although he acknowledged that the Agency had held back from a pre-emptive veto of the project, electing instead to impose less-sweeping limitations to development at the mine site. Even so, NDM contends that EPA has no authority to proceed with restrictions before the permitting process has begun – and is in fact suing the Agency over its actions.

Congressional reactions: Alaska Senator Lisa Murkowski (R) “blasted the EPA,” according to this report from “The Hill,” saying that the EPA will use this process as a “blueprint” for stopping economic development across the country. Alaska Senator Mark Begich (D) said that the limited scope proposed by the EPA ensured that there would be no repercussions outside of Pebble. He continues to state that Pebble is the “wrong mine in the wrong place.”

Bristol Bay Native Corporation (BBNC): BBNC is one of the Native organizations that invited the EPA to Bristol Bay in 2010 to determine how development could impact the area. CEO Jason Metrokin applauded EPA’s recommendations, saying they appear to be “common sense, baseline standards for the Pebble project.” He noted that BBNC shareholders have been concerned about the proposed mine for many years.