The Environmental Protection Agency’s proposal to block Pebble mine is on hold after a Nov. 24 federal court ruling. U.S. Alaska District Court Judge H. Russel Holland ordered a preliminary injunction be put in place on the EPA’s Clean Water Act Section 404(c) process in the Bristol Bay region.
Alaskans concerned with mining in transboundary watersheds often aren’t aware of the cooperation between the state and provincial governments, according to a British Columbia resource official. “I’m not sure if there’s any elected person in the state of Alaska that really knows the extent to which we engage Alaska on northwest (British Columbia) mining projects and that’s on us. We need to do a better job,” British Columbia Minister of Energy and Mines Bill Bennett said.
The annual Alaska Miners Association convention will set another attendance record this year with about 1,000 signed up to attend so far, AMA Executive Director Deantha Crockett said. It is also marks the 75th anniversary of the AMA, making it one of the state’s oldest trade and professional organizations. The AMA was organized in 1939 to give the mining industry, then one of the territory’s two industries (the other being fishing) a way to present a united front in dealing with new land policies being formed in Washington, D.C.
The first court decision could come as early as October in a lawsuit challenging the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s attempt to use Clean Water Act authority to preempt mining at the Pebble project southwest of Anchorage, according to the president of the company planning the mine.
Two minutes at a time, the Environmental Protection Agency heard directly from Alaskans how they feel about the agency’s proposal to block Pebble mine development.