KNBA - KBC

environmental protection agency

Murkowski finds EPA criticism of Pebble Mine ‘substantial’

Jul 17, 2019

The Environmental Protection Agency issued harsh assessments of the proposed Pebble Mine, and they’ve made an impression on Lisa Murkowski. But the senator says her powers are limited.

For years, Murkowski has stayed neutral on the mine itself while defending the permitting process, so her recent statements are uncharacteristically pointed.

U.S. District Court Judge H. Russel Holland Monday put a temporary hold on the EPA's 404(c) process on the Pebble Mine, a process that allows EPA to restrict or prohibit projects that could have adverse effects on fishery areas. EPA's February decision to initiate the process was based on a Bristol Bay Watershed Assessment it completed in January.

The Pebble Limited Partnership contends that while EPA was developing that assessment, it violated the Federal Advisory Committee Act, which ensures advisory committees are objective and accessible to the public.

The Senate Finance Committee's $2.1 billion budget includes $145 million for a new heating system for the University of Alaska Fairbanks, and $2.1 for a road linking King Cove to Cold Bay. It doesn't include $10 million for the Susitna dam project that Administration was seeking.

Some subsistence fishermen are calling for a temporary halt to fishing on the Yukon River after the state has forecast abysmal returns of king salmon.