Pebble mine, with obvious risks, will sadly pass permit process

September 15, 2011 

Sen. Lisa Murkowski has been quoted regarding her position on Pebble mine and section 404(c) of the Federal Clean Water Act, "Attempts to prejudge development in the Bristol Bay area before permit application has been submitted would make a mockery out of the federal environmental review process."

This brings to mind the case of Alaska's Rock Creek mine, which remains in closure since 2008. Very shortly after production began unanticipated mechanical failures, deficiencies in storm water pollution prevention, cost overruns and unmet conditions in permits were cited as cause. This mine initially completed all of its (supposedly rigorous) permitting requirements.

When considering these oversights, it seems that the true "mockery" is the process of permitting itself.

A huge mine with acid-generating rock on largely permeable substrate in an active seismic zone at the headwaters of Alaska's valuable salmon fishery is an obvious bad risk.

-- John Enders


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