American Resources Policy Network
Promoting the development of American mineral resources.
  • Public Comment Period on Bristol Bay Watershed Assessment Extended

    Washington Post calls issue “the biggest environmental decision…you’ve never heard of…”


    The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has officially extended the public comment period for its draft Bristol Bay Watershed Assessment – a review released in April in response to calls from anti-mining groups for the EPA to issue a preemptive permit veto under section 404(c) of the Clean Water Act of the Pebble mine project in Alaska.

    The Washington Post notes the issue’s importance, which has so far flown largely under the national media’s radar, as potentially “one of the most important environmental decisions the president faces in his second term.”

    The situation does indeed deserve greater attention. The Pebble deposit is quite possibly the largest copper resource in American history, and responsible development of it could create tens of thousands of much-needed jobs and billions in economic development. Far more is at stake, though, as a preemptive permit veto prior to the NEPA (National Environmental Policy Act) process has never been done. As we have previously pointed out, if this precedent is set, every exploratory domestic resource project in the United States will be at risk, jeopardizing our economic and national security future.

    With the comment period extended, please consider weighing in on this important issue and submit a comment to the EPA via their website, if you haven’t done so already.

    For your convenience, here are some key facts and links for further information, as well as a sample message.

  • EPA’s revised Bristol Bay Watershed Assessment flawed on several levels

    Pulling a classic Friday afternoon document drop, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released its revised draft Bristol Bay Watershed Assessment on Friday afternoon – only two days after tamping down media expectations that the release was imminent.

    As American Resources President Daniel McGroarty pointed out in an email to journalists on Friday, the flawed assessment draws from research conducted by Stratus Consulting and Ann Maest, the firm’s managing scientist, both of which earlier this month admitted to having falsified research in a long-running high profile environmental lawsuit against energy company Chevron.

    The Daily Caller’s Michael Bastasch has covered the story.

    As Bastasch explains,

    “Maest and Stratus claimed earlier this month that they had been misled by a plaintiffs’ lawyer when they provided an environmental report detailing the damage done by Chevron subsidiary Texaco to areas of Ecuador. They disavowed the report as ‘tainted.’

    “The environmental impact report used against Chevron was supposed to be written by an independent expert, but was instead written by Stratus, which was employed by lawyers representing Ecuadorian villagers.”

    These trial lawyers, according to Stratus, demanded that the assessment be ghost-written by Stratus and Maest to appear as if written by Richard Cabrera, the court-appointed expert, and that Stratus’s involvement be kept secret.

    Upon admitting to falsifying the report Stratus released a statement saying:

    “Stratus believes that the damages assessment in the Cabrera Report and the entire Cabrera process were fatally tainted and are not reliable. Stratus disavows the Cabrera Report, has agreed to cooperate fully and to provide testimony about the Ecuador litigation.”

    As Bastasch points out,

    “The company’s involvement in the Chevron case does not appear to have dampened the EPA’s willingness to work with Stratus. The regulator’s review of the Pebble Mine cites Maest’s work in conjunction with Stratus seven times. The review also cites Maest’s work in conjunction with consulting firm Buka Environmental four times.”

    The plot thickens when you consider that even before the Cabrera report admission, Maest had done consultancy work for anti-mining groups. One such group, CSP2, has stated on its website that Maest and a colleague at Stratus Consulting have provided technical assistance on geochemistry and hydrology for CSP2’s work in support of a coalition opposing the Pebble mine in Alaska.

    Consequently, American Resources principal Daniel McGroarty has called for the EPA to “withdraw Maest’s research from the assessment and conduct a thorough review of any and all work Stratus Consulting has done for EPA.”

    Beyond relying on discredited researchers, the assessment is still seriously flawed, as it merely evaluates a hypothetical project as no formal plans have been submitted, leading Pebble LP, a venture by Northern Dynasty Minerals and Anglo American PLC, to repeat its call for “due process,” which Greenwire’s Manuel Quinones translates as shorthand for the ability to go through the permitting process.” (subscription required)

    Quinones cites Pebble CEO John Shively who argues:

    “At a time when the entire executive branch is having to cut important program funding because of sequestration, it is stunning that the EPA continues to pursue this matter instead of waiting for a permit application to review through the well-established regulatory process.”

    However, considering the EPA’s recent history of regulatory overreach – West Virginia’s Spruce Mine being a case in point – there is little hope the agency will change its ways.

  • EPA overregulation could cost U.S. $220 billion in investment

    The Daily Caller reports that the EPA’s preemptive assessment of the Pebble copper and gold mine in Alaska could cost the U.S. $220 billion in investment. The agency’s report, based on an evaluation of a hypothetical mine, expresses concern over the site’s potential environmental impact and could lead to Pebble’s rejection before it has a [...]
  • Review of Bristol Bay Watershed in Alaska: Is EPA Reaching for the Kill Switch?

    Sounding the alarm on the possible impact of hypothetical mining — in spite of the fact that no permit application or specific plans have been submitted — the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has released a cursory review of the Bristol Bay Watershed in Alaska. The EPA’s unprecedented early action is part of the agency’s effort [...]
  • Dan McGroarty featured on Lars Larson Show, PayneNation

    American Resources Principal Dan McGroarty appeared on the Lars Larson show and Charles Payne’s PayneNation to discuss the EPA’s latest bid to stop the prospective Pebble Mine in Alaska before the project has a chance to be reviewed. Check out the interviews below.