The political appointees in the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) this week withdrew proposed Clean Water Act safeguards for Bristol Bay.
This action reverses years-long efforts by the EPA that began with the start of a study in 2010 and culminated with proposed standards in 2014 that would have protected Bristol Bay from the threat of the Pebble Mine. The study had been submitted for several rounds of independent peer review as well community hearings and public comment.
Unfortunately, the standards were never finalized due to legal action by Pebble Mine’s parent Canadian company. Over the last couple of years, Pebble has spent heavily on lobbying the Trump administration, which never has met a corporatist environmentally destructive policy it doesn’t love; and certainly that’s true of anything started during the Obama administration.
As it is now, the EPA has committed to not making a Clean Water Act Section 404(c) determination on Pebble until after the Corps of Engineers completes an Environment Impact Statement (EIS) – scheduled for completion in 2020.
However, it should be understood that the Pebble’s Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) has come under heavy criticism. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has said that the DEIS is “so inadequate that it precludes meaningful analysis.” EPA professional staff also issued a highly critical review of the DEIS, noting a laundry list of inadequacies and failures.
It seems almost certain legal action will be taken to prevent this latest assault on the environment.
Another reason the Trump regime needs to go.