Obama Tool of Tyranny Closer to Extinction
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Members of the Western Caucus and outside stakeholders released statements applauding EPA General Counsel Matthew Leopold's memo directing EPA officials to resume consideration of withdrawing the Obama Administration's preemptive veto of the Pebble Mine in Alaska:
Chief Regulatory Reform Officer Andy Biggs (AZ-05): "The Trump administration continues to keep its promises by dismantling the Obama-era regulatory state. I encourage the EPA to move swiftly through this process to provide stability for job creation and American ingenuity."
Americans for Tax Reform President Grover Norquist: "Americans for Tax Reform applauds the EPA's decision to resume consideration of withdrawing the Obama Administration's unprecedented preemptive veto of Pebble Mine. Pebble Mine, like all other projects, should be evaluated based upon a proper and well-established environmental review process. Instead, the Obama Administration chose to abuse and weaponize its authority under the Clean Water Act to block Pebble Mine's development before a permitting application was even submitted. Yesterday's announcement from General Counsel Matthew Leopold is a step forward towards restoring a consistent, fair and rational permitting process at the EPA. The Trump EPA now has a chance to right the wrongs of the past and withdraw the Obama Administration's unprecedented preemptive veto. ATR encourages them to do so."
National Mining Association Senior Vice President Rich Nolan:"Industrial projects of any kind should not be vetoed before they have even been proposed. Every project should be allowed to go through a comprehensive permitting process and weighed on its merits. Now, more than ever, we should be sending signals to attract resource investment and development, not push it away. We fully expect this administration to give the Pebble Mine the fair, transparent opportunity it deserves to meet both Alaska and the nation’s strong environmental standards. We applaud EPA restarting the process to consider withdrawing the veto and encourage them to quickly right an obvious wrong."
Competitive Enterprise Institute Senior Fellow Ben Lieberman: "The Obama EPA’s rejection of the Pebble Mine came before the mining company had even submitted its permit application, and was based on the agency’s own speculative analysis rather than the exhaustive Army Corps of Engineers review that is now underway. This is something the Trump EPA should have already reversed, and we urge them to do so as quickly as possible."
Pebble Limited Partnership CEO Tom Collier: "We are pleased the Trump Administration and the EPA have put this preemptive veto on a path to conclusion. We have long advocated for a full, fair and regular process for Pebble and look forward to a prompt resolution from the EPA on this long standing matter."
On June 26, 2019, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) General Counsel Matthew Leopold signed a memo directing EPA Region 10 to resume consideration of withdrawing the Obama Administration EPA's preemptive veto (Proposed Determination) of the Pebble Limited Partnership mining project in Alaska.
Members of the Congressional Western Caucus and conservative organizations throughout the country have consistently called on EPA to formally withdraw the preemptive veto as it was issued before the Pebble Mine had been formally proposed, was issued before any substantial environmental analysis had occurred, and threatened to set a dangerous precedent where future administrations could block important important projects throughout the country solely for political reasons that are not based on science.
The Pebble Mine Project:
NEPA, History of the Proposed Determination and Federal Overreach by the Obama Administration:
Congress enacted Section 404 of the Clean Water Act to provide a rigorous, science-based process for comprehensive federal review of proposed natural resources projects like the proposed Pebble Mine. NEPA directs the Corps to identify and evaluate reasonable project alternatives, environmental impacts and potential mitigation measures, through a process informed by comprehensive input from the public, state and federal government agency stakeholders.
In July of 2014, the Obama Administration's EPA Region 10 announced it would initiate an unprecedented proceeding to preemptively veto the Pebble Mine, while Pebble sponsors were still in the process of evaluating the financing, scope and appropriate environmental safeguards for the project and before they had even applied for a Section 404 permit.
In July of 2017, the Trump Administration proposed to withdraw the 2014 Proposed Determination. In January of 2018, EPA suspended the withdrawal proceeding.
In December of 2017, the Pebble Limited Partnership submitted a permit application to USACE to develop the Pebble Mine.
In February of 2019, the USACE released a 1,400-page draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) for the Pebble mine for public review and comment, as required by NEPA. The public comment period is slated to end July 1, 2019.
Once the public input is received and evaluated, the USACE will move forward to complete a Final EIS. EPA's Proposed Determination will need to be formally withdrawn prior to USACE issuing a permit for the Pebble Mine.