An Environmental Protection Agency report examining the potential environmental impacts of mining activity in Alaska’s Bristol Bay Watershed concluded that industrial-scale mining operations would endanger salmon species and other wildlife, according to Reuters.
“Our report concludes that large-scale mining poses risks to salmon and the tribal communities that have depended on them for thousands of years,” Dennis McLerran, EPA’s regional administrator in the Pacific Northwest, said in a statement.
Vancouver-based Northern Dynasty Minerals, a company looking to build a copper and gold mine in the watershed, immediately dismissed the decision as biased.
“We believe EPA set out to do a flawed analysis,” Ron Thiessen, the company’s CEO, said in a statement.
Republican lawmakers were also quick to slam the report.
“EPA is setting a dangerous precedent by justifying its political prejudices on a flawed assessment based on hypotheticals,” Sen. David Vitter, R-La., Senate Environment and Public Works Committee ranking member, said in a statement. “This is a very scary signal that the EPA is sending to businesses — that they are capable of and willing to kill a project before an application is even submitted.”
Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, also criticized the assessment, calling it preemptive and unnecessary, given that Northern Dynasty has not yet applied for a permit to construct the proposed mine.
“If the EPA has concerns about the impact of a project, there is an appropriate time to raise them — after a permit application has been made, not before,” Murkowski said in a statement.
What We're Following See More »
"The Senate standstill over a stopgap spending bill appeared headed toward a resolution on Friday night. Senators who were holding up the measure said votes are expected later in the evening. West Virginia Democrat Joe Manchin had raised objections to the continuing resolution because it did not include a full year's extension of retired coal miners' health benefits," but Manchin "said he and other coal state Democrats agreed with Senate Democratic leaders during a caucus meeting Thursday that they would not block the continuing resolution, but rather use the shutdown threat as a way to highlight the health care and pension needs of the miners."
Donald Trump transition team announced Friday afternoon that top supporter Rudy Giuliani has taken himself out of the running to be in Trump's cabinet, though CNN previously reported that it was Trump who informed the former New York City mayor that he would not be receiving a slot. While the field had seemingly been narrowed last week, it appears to be wide open once again, with ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson the current favorite.
The House has completed it's business for 2016 by passing a spending bill which will keep the government funded through April 28. The final vote tally was 326-96. The bill's standing in the Senate is a bit tenuous at the moment, as a trio of Democratic Senators have pledged to block the bill unless coal miners get a permanent extension on retirement and health benefits. The government runs out of money on Friday night.
The Senate passed the National Defense Authorization Act today, sending the $618 billion measure to President Obama. The president vetoed the defense authorization bill a year ago, but both houses could override his disapproval this time around.