EPA: Mining Activity in Alaskan Watershed Harmful to Wildlife

392886 08: This undated photo shows a grizzly bear in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska. The Bush administration''s controversial plan to open the refuge to oil drilling was approved by the House of Representatives on August 2, 2001, but it faces a tough battle in the Democrat-controlled Senate. 
National Journal
Clare Foran
Add to Briefcase
Clare Foran
Jan. 16, 2014, 2:09 a.m.

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 »
Trump: Clinton “Doesn’t Have The Stamina” to be President
7 hours ago

At the end of the debate, moderator Lester Holt asked Donald Trump if he stands by his statement that Hillary Clinton didn't have the look of a president. Trump responded by saying Holt misquoted him, instead saying that Clinton "doesn't have the stamina." Clinton responded by saying that when Trump visits 112 countries as secretary of state, he can talk to her about stamina.

Trump: Clinton Camp Started Birtherism
8 hours ago

Donald Trump, when pressed by Lester Holt on why he finally admitted that President Obama was born in America, repeated his widely debunked claim that it was started by Hillary Clinton.

Conversation Shifts to Race
8 hours ago

Hillary Clinton went point by point on how race can so often determine the treatment that people receive, mentioning recent shootings in Tulsa and Charlotte, calling for restored trust between communities and police, and demanding criminal justice reform. Trump responded by calling for law and order and touting his endorsements from police unions. He then said that “African Americans are living in hell,” saying they are just walking down the street and getting “shot ... being decimated by crime."

During Debate, Trump Site Appears to Be Down
8 hours ago

Just as Hillary Clinton was inviting debate viewers to visit her site for real-time fact checking, there appeared to be a problem with Donald Trump's own campaign website. For about a 15-minute period, a blank page or an error message appeared when we tried to load the Trump site.

Trump Comes Out Swinging
9 hours ago

Donald Trump has come out in the first segment of this debate raring to go. Trump has interrupted nearly every answer being given by Hillary Clinton, talking over her time and again. Clinton is sticking to her guns, smiling while Trump speaks and then calling on people to go to her website and see the fact checking being done.