EPA’s Pre-emptive Overreach on Pebble is Premature and Undermines the US Environmental Permitting System

Pebble Partnership Calls Agency Scheme Unauthorized, Unprecedented and Unfounded

Anchorage, AK – The Pebble Partnership sent a strongly crafted letter to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on April 29th, 2014 outlining the company’s key objections to a process initiated by the EPA to exercise a pre-emptive veto against the Pebble Project. The action is based on Section 404(c) of the U.S. Clean Water Act (CWA). Pebble is calling upon the EPA to rescind its letter and revert to the well-established regulatory process under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) for reviewing the Pebble Project.

Pebble Partnership CEO Tom Collier issued the following statement about the company’s letter to the EPA:

“What is absolutely clear is that EPA’s intent to undertake pre-emptive action under Section 404(c) to restrict development of the Pebble Project goes well beyond its statutory authority as established by Congress, and would have the effect of undermining the legitimate regulatory authority of the State of Alaska and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. As EPA itself has admitted, it is an unprecedented action and it will have far-reaching negative consequences for investment and job creation in this country by turning the federal permitting process on its head.

“We have reviewed an internal EPA memo from September 2010 that acknowledges taking proactive action to veto or restrict development at Pebble has ‘never been done before in the history of the CWA’ and will result in ‘immediate political backlash from Alaska’ and anticipates litigation. The memo also indicates EPAs ambition to vastly expand its authority, calling the Pebble precedent a ‘model of proactive watershed planning’ that will allow it to undertake ‘watershed planning’ over vast areas of state, private and tribal lands anywhere in the United States.

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Author: Ann Northcutt

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