U.S. Environmental Protection Agency maintained restrictions on Alaska mine project

Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt speaks during an interview with Reuters journalists in Washington, U.S., January 9, 2018. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

Vastavam web: In a surprise move, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency reversed itself on Friday and maintained restrictions on the proposed Pebble Mine copper and gold mine project in southwest Alaska’s Bristol Bay region.“It is my judgment at this time that any mining projects in the region likely pose a risk to the abundant natural resources that exist there,” EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt said in a statement.

President Donald Trump has championed increased domestic mining and the EPA’s decision to maintain restrictions on the Pebble Mine’s approval process comes as a surprise.The Obama administration blocked the proposed mine in 2014 over environmental concerns. Last year, Pruitt started a process to reverse that decision. The Canadian company behind the mine project then applied for a permit from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

The Pebble Limited Partnership, comprising Canadian miners Northern Dynasty Minerals Ltd and First Quantum Minerals Ltd, is planning to mine 1.2 billion tons of material, including 287 million pounds of copper.Environmentalists, commercial and sport fishermen, many Alaska Native tribal organizations and even some Republican politicians have all criticized the project, which would be built on land near Lake Clark National Park.Alaska Governor Bill Walker, an independent, applauded the decision and thanked Pruitt “for listening to my input and that of thousands of Alaskans” who oppose the mine.“This decision neither deters nor derails the application process of Pebble Limited Partnership’s proposed project,” he said.