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.
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U.S. District Judge William Orrick Tuesday blocked the Trump administration from enforcing part of an executive order calling for the end of federal funding to so-called sanctuary cities. The decision was followed by a scathing rebuke from the White House, a precedent-breaking activity which with this White House has had no qualms. A White House statement called the decision an "egregious overreach by a single, unelected district judge." The statement was followed by an inaccurate Wednesday morning tweetstorm from Trump, which railed against the Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. While Judge Orrick district falls within the jurisdiction of the Ninth Circuit, Orrick himself does not serve on the Ninth Circuit.
"House Republicans are circulating the text of an amendment to their ObamaCare replacement bill that they believe could bring many conservatives on board. According to legislative text of the amendment," drafted by Rep. Tom MacArthur (R-NJ), "the measure would allow states to apply for waivers to repeal one of ObamaCare’s core protections for people with pre-existing conditions. Conservatives argue the provision drives up premiums for healthy people, but Democrats—and many more moderate Republicans—warn it would spark a return to the days when insurance companies could charge sick people exorbitantly high premiums."
President Trump on Wednesday "will order a review of national monuments created over the past 20 years with an aim toward rescinding or resizing some of them—part of a broader push to reopen areas to drilling, mining, and other development." Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke told reporters on Tuesday said he'd be reviewing about 30 monuments.
"An emerging government funding deal would see Democrats agree to $15 billion in additional military funding in exchange for the GOP agreeing to fund healthcare subsidies, according to two congressional officials briefed on the talks. Facing a Friday deadline to pass a spending bill and avert a shutdown, Democrats are willing to go halfway to President Trump’s initial request of $30 billion in supplemental military funding."
The Michael Flynn story is not going away for the White House as it tries to refocus its attention. The White House has denied requests from the House Oversight Committee for information and documents regarding payments that the former national security adviser received from Russian state television station RT and Russian firms. House Oversight Chairman Jason Chaffetz and ranking member Elijah Cummings also said that Flynn failed to report these payments on his security clearance application. White House legislative director Marc Short argued that the documents requested are either not in the possession of the White House or contain sensitive information he believes is not applicable to the committee's stated investigation.