Northwest Voices | Letters to the Editor
Proposed Pebble mine in Alaska
EPA should live up to its name
I take exception to Abe Williams’ op-ed pleading that the Environmental Protection Agency should not use its authority under the Clean Water Act [“Proposed Pebble mine in Alaska deserves to make its case,” Opinion, Dec. 1].
He’d like to see the Alaska permitting process proceed with the goal of allowing extensive hard-rock mining in regions of Bristol Bay that are presently the world’s pinnacle of wild salmon production. His characterization of this as “pitting national environmental lobbyists ... against isolated Alaskan communities” is entirely misleading. The Native Alaskans overwhelmingly oppose this project and I am appalled that their rights should be trampled to enrich a foreign multinational corporation.
Williams argues that the local process “involves rigorous review” but that too is misleading. The Alaskan process is designed to permit the development. That’s why it’s called the permitting process, after all.
Most important, Williams falsely implies that EPA would overstep its authority if it halted the project. In fact, that is precisely what the Clean Water Act was designed to do. Read the law — it calls on EPA to prevent projects that will have “unacceptable adverse effects” and this one will, without any doubt. EPA did an extensive scientific review and now it should live up to its name and protect the environment.
—Thomas Quinn, Seattle