American Resources Policy Network
Promoting the development of American mineral resources.
  • EPA Overreach: Headed for Congressional Push-Back?

    The EPA’s unilateral expansion of its authority appears to be heading for some Congressional push-back. Witness a column written by Alaska’s senior Senator, Lisa Murkowski, for Alaska’s Anchorage Daily News, in which Murkowski asks:

    “What would Alaskans say if a federal agency retroactively vetoed permits for development of Prudhoe Bay, declaring it never should have been allowed on the North Slope?

    What would we think if a federal agency unilaterally banned development in the non-wilderness portion of ANWR?

    And what if a federal agency halted efforts to reopen the Nikiski LNG terminal, without any right of appeal, because a tiny portion of the property was once considered wetlands?

    While these scenarios might have once seemed far-fetched, all of them – and more – will be possible if the dramatic expansion of EPA’s power under the Clean Water Act continues unchecked.”

    Murkowski proceeds to reference her co-sponsorship of S 2156,“The Regulatory Fairness Act,” introduced by Senator David Vitter (R-LA) and Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV). The bill — at 396 words, a marvel of brevity in the word fog enveloping today’s Washington – aims to put guard rails back on EPA’s authority, declaring that the agency shall have no power to preemptively veto a project that has not yet presented a plan for permitting, nor shall it have ex post facto power to claw back a permit already lawfully granted. ARPN readers will recognize the preemptive and ex post facto cases as the proposed multi-metal Pebble Mine in Alaska – where EPA created a pre-approval process so onerous that both major mining investors paired with the Pebble team withdrew from the project — and the Spruce coal mine in West Virginia, which saw its permit rescinded by EPA two years after it was granted.

    Murkowski notes that the proposed bill “does not eliminate EPA’s veto power or prohibit the protection of any lands and waters. It does not make it easier for a project to win approval, or weaken the environmental review process that major projects must undergo. Instead, the bill establishes a reasonable and reliable timeframe for EPA to issue any vetoes it determines necessary.”

    In other words, it restores EPA’s authority to the status quo ante – before the agency began to stretch its own powers in ways that will cast a chilling effect not just over mining projects, but as ARPN’s Dan McGroarty has argued, over economic development in sectors as varied as construction, transportation, manufacturing and even agriculture.

    As much as $220 billion in economic development comes under EPA’s review each year, a dollar value that will only rise if the Agency succeeds in taking the law into its own hands. It remains to be seen if Congress, as law-maker, takes it back.

  • Witnesses lament EPA overreach during Congressional hearing

    The government shutdown notwithstanding, mining experts took to Capitol Hill this week to share their concerns about the roadblocks they encounter in the form of often unnecessary and costly regulations, and even – in some cases – abusive actions on the part of the Obama Administration, with members of Congress.

    During Thursday’s House Natural Resources Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources hearing titled “EPA vs. American Mining Jobs: The Obama Administration’s Regulatory Assault on the Economy,” Alaska’s Department of Natural Resources Deputy Commissioner Edmund Fogels outlined the challenges associated with federal agencies seeking to expand their mining regulations, which often results in redundant duplications of existing and well-functioning programs. Alaska leads the nation in the effort to act strategically on critical metals development; however, Fogels clearly recognizes that the state’s proactive approach is not widely shared.

    He said:

    “This duplication is not only inefficient, but it has real costs to the states and their residents who work to responsibly develop and protect natural resources.”

    Fogels was joined by Chris Hamilton, West Virginia Coal Association’s Senior Vice President, who lamented the Administration’s obstructionist policies towards the coal mining industry, and Sheldon Maier from the Fortymile Coal Association in Alaska who provided insight into what ARPN’s Daniel McGroarty has called “Chicken-gate” – a heavy-handed and armed EPA-led raid of a mining site in Chicken, Alaska, to conduct “paperwork” inspections of permit compliance.

    As Committee Chairman Doug Lamborn (R, Colo.) rightly pointed out during the meeting:

    “At the heart of the issue is the lack of confidence in permitting by the federal government. If without proper cause, an agency can retroactively veto issued permits or prospectively veto permits not applied for, then how can any company, contractor or concessionaire have confidence to invest in America when their permit is not worth the paper it is written on.”

    The sad and simple answer is, they can’t – and it’s time our policy makers begin to reform our onerous and rigid permitting system.

    Click here for more information about the hearing and links to witnesses’ full remarks.

  • As EPA Administrator visits Bristol Bay, environmentalists repeat call for preemptive veto

    While Members of Congress spent some time in their home districts last month, EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy traveled to Alaska to discuss the President’s climate action plan and hear arguments from stakeholders in the Bristol Bay area on the proposed Pebble mine. Opponents of the project used the occasion to once more push for a [...]
  • Senate hearing puts price tag on EPA’s Bristol Bay Watershed Assessment

    The Daily Caller Foundation’s Michael Bastasch, who has consistently offered thorough coverage of some of the most pressing mineral- and mining-related issues, last week took a closer look at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s spending on the agency’s controversial Bristol Bay Watershed Assessment. According to Bastasch, during a recent U.S. Senate hearing, “Ken Kopocis, President [...]
  • Debate over Bristol Bay Watershed Assessment should focus on NEPA process, not emotional hyperbole and over-simplification

    With the public commenting period for the EPA’s revised Bristol Bay Watershed Assessment now closed, Environment and Energy Publishing’s Manuel Quinones zeroes in on the comments submitted to the agency in his latest piece for E&E Daily (subscription required). According to the article, the battle lines are drawn on the push by environmentalist groups for [...]
  • Op-ed: A Potential Copper Bonanza Runs Afoul of the EPA

    The following op-ed by American Resources Principal Dan McGroarty was published in the Wall Street Journal on July 5, 2013. The original text can be found here. A Potential Copper Bonanza Runs Afoul of the EPA The metal is essential for wind turbines, but a proposed mine in Alaska has set off Keystone-like alarms. By Daniel [...]
  • Dan McGroarty featured (again) on the Glen Biegel Show

    American Resources President Dan McGroarty made his second appearance on the Glen Biegel Show in Anchorage, AK on Monday to discuss the U.S. mining permitting process and the proposed Pebble mine. Listen below.    
  • Alaska Senate passes resolution in support of REE exploration

    Alaska continues to be a state leader when it comes to formulating mineral resource policy. In line with Gov. Sean Parnell’s five-part strategy to support the mining industry, the State Senate has passed a resolution in support of in-state Rare Earths exploration, which urges state agencies and the federal government to lend its support to [...]
  • Alaska maps state’s “mineral potential from the land and air”

    As the Juneau Empire’s Russell Stigall reports, the State of Alaska’s efforts to map Alaska’s “mineral potential from the land and air” are in full swing. Thanks to the state’s – and particularly Southeast Alaska’s – rich geology, state geologists, including Bob Swenson, state geologist and director of the Alaska Division of Geological and Geophysical [...]
  • Alaska minerals expert joins American Resources panel

    We’re thrilled to announce that Curtis J. Freeman, president of Avalon Development Corporation, has joined the American Resources panel of issue experts. A U.S. Certified Professional Geologist and licensed geologist in the State of Alaska, Mr. Freeman founded Avalon Development Corporation, a mineral exploration consulting firm based in Fairbanks, Alaska in 1985. Mr. Freeman and [...]