EPA Closes Door on Alaska Mine Project

On Jan. 31, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) made a controversial decision to block or “veto” a Clean Water Act section 404 permit for the Pebble Mine in Alaska. Last year, AGC raised concerns that EPA’s preemptive veto of the permit would set a harmful precedent for future projects working through the permitting and/or appeals process and have a chilling effect on infrastructure development. The permit in question was undergoing an administrative appeal (still pending) following the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ denial. 

In the 2022 letter to EPA Administrator Michael Regan, AGC joined other industry groups in urging EPA to “allow the Pebble Project to move through the established regulatory process.” The group stressed that the business community relies on predictable permitting processes, and that system was designed to provide due process for project considerations. Furthermore, EPA’s decision will block development on Alaska state lands, which conflicts with the foundation of cooperative federalism within the CWA.

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