Today in Alaska, there’s a political battle raging over a proposed copper mine, the Pebble Project. Not many in Washington, D.C. know about it, but it’s time people start paying attention. That’s because the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is about to lock some of America’s poorest communities into a permanent economic depression as a favor to national environmental groups. If the EPA succeeds, what happens in Alaska won’t stay in Alaska – there will be huge economic and employment consequences for the rest of the country.
The Pebble Project is a proposed copper mine about 15 miles from my hometown of Iliamna in southwestern Alaska. The Pebble deposit contains one of the world’s largest discoveries of copper, and if the proposed mine secures more than 60 different regulatory approvals from about a dozen state and federal agencies, the project would create about 2,000 construction jobs and 1,000 permanent positions. For permitting, the developers will have to prove to regulators the project will not harm the surrounding environment, including Bristol Bay’s sockeye salmon population.