As we’re approaching the end of the EPA’s (extended) public comment period for its revised Bristol Bay Watershed Assessment, the surprises keep piling up. Only a few short days ago, the Washington Post – which is, as we’ve pointed out, not known to be a mouthpiece of the mining industry – came out against a preemptive EPA veto of what could be the largest Copper deposit in U.S. history, the so-called Pebble Deposit in Southwest Alaska.
Now we’re learning that the Center for American Progress (CAP), a left-of-center think tank, is joining the Washington Post in their reasonable position. An article on CAP’s website calls for allowing due process to take its course through the established permitting and review process.
Of course, that does not mean CAP supports the project – in fact, they have made their opposition to the mine quite clear – but their support for the established and rigorous environmental permitting process is a commendable stance for a group that must certainly have faced serious pressure from its usual allies. As American Resources President Daniel McGroarty has pointed out:
“Other groups like the National Resources Defense Council have been shrill and unyielding in their demand for a pre-emptive EPA veto. It must have been tough for the Center for American Progress to sit at the table with them and refuse to support that course of action.”
Calling the National Resources Defense Council’s (NRDC) push “shrill” is by no means an exaggeration. Consider this little gem from NRDC Western Director Joel Reynolds, as quoted in “Environment & Energy Daily” (subscription required):
“We view this [the Pebble Mine] as one of the worst projects anywhere in the world today.”
Really? Anywhere in the world? That is quite a statement when considering the dismal conditions at copper mines in Pakistan, Russia, Iran, Angola, Zambia, and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), where child labor or work without proper protective gear are common practice. Reynolds would likely be jailed — or worse — for raising even a peep of protest against major mining projects in any of these countries. Says McGroarty:
“It’s much easier to make these statements from a cushy office on the Santa Monica waterfront. Reynolds would be jailed or worse for raising a peep of protest against major mining projects in any of these countries. This emotional hyperbole has no place in a rational, scientific discussion about the costs and benefits of what could be the largest copper resource in America’s history and a huge boon to the U.S. economy.”
There are still a few days left before the comment period draws to a close, so if you haven’t done so yet, please consider weighing in on this important issue and submit a comment to the EPA via their website.
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