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American Resources Policy Network
Promoting the development of American mineral resources.
  • Coalition of Congressional Members and Stakeholders Call on EPA to Reverse Pre-emptive Veto and Restore Due Process to U.S. Mine Permitting  

    Earlier this month, the Congressional Western Caucus led a coalition of Members of Congress and Stakeholders to call on EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt to reverse a pre-emptive veto of the Pebble Mine project in Alaska.

    The veto stopped the project before it had formally applied to begin the permitting process — a unilateral expansion of EPA powers under section 404(c) of the Clean Water Act.  Mr. Pruitt had originally stated he would reverse the decision and restore due process — but then abruptly changed course earlier this year.

    Said Daniel McGroarty, principal of ARPN, which is also a signatory of the letter:

    “With the growing recognition that the U.S. is dangerously dependent on foreign supply for scores of critical minerals and metals, the need for a predictable permitting process has never been greater. The pre-emptive veto of the Pebble Project casts a chilling effect over resource development in the U.S.  As the letter says, to allow a pre-emptive veto to stand is ‘contrary to the spirit of our environmental protection laws, to due process, and to basic fairness.”  

    To read the full letter, and other stakeholder statements on the issue, click here.

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  • EPA Settlement on Pebble Deposit Positive Development for Due Process Advocates

    A few years ago, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) made a splash when it took unprecedented early action in an effort to derail the development of one of the largest domestic deposits of key strategic mineral resources (Copper, Molybdenum, Gold, Silver and Rhenium) – the so-called Pebble Deposit in Southwestern Alaska.  In spite of the fact that no permit application or specific plans had been submitted, the agency released a cursory review of the Bristol Bay Watershed in Alaska which sounded the alarm on the possible impact of hypothetical mining – even though previous EPA assertions of such preemptive power had been rebuffed in federal court.

    The EPA’s decision to preemptively veto the project before any application had been filed represented a unilateral expansion of EPA powers under section 404(c) of the Clean Water Act.

    Now, in a course reversal and big victory for due process advocates, the EPA under its new administrator Scott Pruitt and Canada’s Northern Dynasty Minerals has settled the long-standing dispute, which had culminated in 2014 with a lawsuit over the EPA’s decision to block development of the Pebble Deposit.

    ARPN followers may recall that ARPN consistently argued in favor of due process and warned against effectively allowing the EPA to grant itself ultimate authority to derail any project in the United States that touches on water — with potential impact for projects in every sector of the US economy, from mining to farming, manufacturing, building, energy, and water treatment.

    Announced earlier this month, the settlement now reached affords the Pebble Limited Partnership the opportunity to apply for a permit from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers under the Clean Water Act, after which point the EPA could move forward with its Clean Water Act process to “specify limits on the disposal of certain material in connection with the potential “Pebble Mine.”

    Says EPA Chief Pruitt: 

    “We are committed to due process and the rule of law, and regulations that are ‘regular.’ We understand how much the community cares about this issue, with passionate advocates on all sides. The agreement will not guarantee or prejudge a particular outcome, but will provide Pebble a fair process for their permit application and help steer EPA away from costly and time-consuming litigation. We are committed to listening to all voices as this process unfolds.”

    Whether or not the deposit will ultimately be developed remains to be seen. However, with rigorous environmental review standards and processes already in place, it is encouraging to see that the EPA is returning to merit-based evaluation of actual projects within the given legal and regulatory framework, rather than relying on vague hypotheticals to derail potential mining projects before they even present a mining plan for formal review.

    And while the settlement stands as a win for due process, friends of ARPN will appreciate the bittersweet aspect of a “victory” that ran six years off the clock on the Pebble project, allowing the project to do in 2017 what it had hoped to do in 2011.  During that time, U.S. dependency has deepened for some of the very metals and minerals Pebble might bring to market.  And for the company that optioned the Pebble deposit in 2001, after 16 years, they’ve arrived at the permitting starting line.

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  • Interview: AEMA’s Laura Skaer – The Mining Industry’s Challenges and a Look Ahead

    For the last few months, politics has sucked up much of the oxygen in Washington, DC and around the country.  With the inauguration of the 45th President of the United States behind us, many of us are hopeful that the time has come to finally shift the focus away from politics toward policy. Against the backdrop [...]
  • 2016 – A Mixed Bag for Mineral Resource Policy

    It’s that time of the year again.  And as people are gearing up for the New Year, we are taking the opportunity to take stock of the last twelve months, and want to highlight a few select notable developments of relevance to ARPN followers. From a mineral resource policy perspective, we saw some positive developments [...]
  • The EPA’s Latest Push to Regulate Mining Companies – A Solution in Search of A Problem

    If the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has its way, the nation’s miners will be saddled with a new regulation that is akin to a solution in search of a problem.  In the process, it would effectively duplicate other federal agencies’ responsibilities, preempt state authority, and potentially cripple an important industry. ARPN President Daniel McGroarty discusses [...]
  • ARPN’s Daniel McGroarty in the Wall Street Journal

    ARPN’s Dan McGroarty reports a worrisome development in the saga of EPA’s unprecedented use of pre-emptive veto power to stop Alaska’s proposed Pebble Mine even before a mine plan is presented for review: Anti-mining activists are urging EPA to dust off its veto pen again. And again. Noting a common thread between new pushes for [...]
  • Op-ed: How the EPA Sticks Miners With a Motherlode of Regulation

    The following op-ed by American Resources Principal Dan McGroarty was published in the Wall Street Journal on January 3, 2014. The original text can be found here. How the EPA Sticks Miners With a Motherlode of Regulation The years-long wait for mining permits in the U.S. is the worst in the world. On Dec. 13, [...]
  • Farmers React to EPA’s New Water Rule

    ARPN’s Dan McGroarty wrote earlier this month about EPA’s newly-proposed redefinition of water – warning that: “…the issue isn’t just mining. Couple the expansive new water rule to EPA’s unilateral extension of its “dredge and fill” powers, and there’s no reason that oil and gas projects won’t be next. Ditto major construction, transportation routes, and [...]
  • 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 [...]
  • Testimony before U.S. House questions EPA’s latest action on supply of critical materials

    The following post was originally published on InvestorIntel.com on August 16, 2013. It is reprinted with permission below. August 16, 2013 — Tracy Weslosky, Publisher of InvestorIntel interviews Daniel (Dan) McGroarty, Founder and President of Carmot Strategic Consultants in Washington, DC, and Founder and President of the American Resources Policy Network; an expert-led organization focused [...]

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