Another example of the EPA’s abuse of the permitting process is evident in the agency’s consideration to preemptively kill the Pebble Mine project in Southwest Alaska. At the behest of many radical environmentalist organizations, the EPA has undertaken a “watershed assessment” of the Bristol Bay region. Unsurprisingly, the EPA’s watershed assessment warned against development of the region. This unprecedented action, which is an “extra regulatory” process, is especially odd given that the Pebble Partnership has yet to formally apply for any permits to construct a mine. Simply put, the EPA’s watershed assessment is an ecological risk analysis of a hypothetical mine that has no basis in reality.
Conservatives fear that the recent Spruce Mine decision will embolden the EPA to preemptively kill the Pebble Mine project before developers even apply for requisite permits. This exploitation of the permitting process would have real consequences. The Pebble Mine would be an economic boon for the region and:
· Create 16,175 high-paying jobs per year throughout construction process and an additional 14,715 high-paying jobs per year during production
· Contribute $1.6 billion to our nation’s GDP per year during the construction process and an additional $2.4 per year afterwards
The Pebble Partnership has invested over $150 million in developing a safe, environmentally responsible way to mine the enormous copper reserves in Southwest Alaska. Even if, and that’s a big if, construction of the Pebble Mine is allowed, the EPA can revoke the mine’s permit at any time.
Taken in combination with the Spruce Mine decision, it is impossible to see how the EPA’s new interpretation of old permitting laws will not chill investment. This is just once instance, of one agency, gunning for one industry. Extrapolated across every Obama-run agency, it is easy to understand why the U.S. unemployment rate remains stubbornly high.