Energy

Conservatives Prod Pruitt Into Finally Rolling Back Regs On Alaska Mine

(Shutterstock/Mark Van Scyoc)

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Chris White Tech Reporter

Several conservative organizations are pushing EPA Chief Scott Pruitt into rescinding an Obama-era rule preventing mining companies from developing a mine near a watershed in Alaska.

Americans for Prosperity and the Competitive Enterprise Institute, among others, want to know why Pruitt is not clearing rules preventing mining companies to submit proposals for development in Bristol Bay, Alaska.

“We are disappointed with your action to suspend the withdrawal of the Obama Administration’s ‘Proposed Determination’ against mining in Southwest Alaska and urge you to move forward with overturning the ‘veto’ as soon as possible,” both groups wrote in a March 23 letter to the embattled EPA administrator.

Pruitt made plans in May 2017 to eliminate rules preventing mining companies to submit proposals for development.

Bristol Bay has been off limits to such proposals since 2014, when the Obama administration used a rarely referenced provision of the Clean Air Act to prevent mining activities in the area. It was only the second time since 1970 that a preemptive veto had been issued by the EPA.

Former President Barack Obama was concerned that fill material from the mining companies would impact Bristol, Alaska’s watershed areas. Pruitt vowed to target the ruling, among a host of other Obama-era regulations conservatives believe stifle economic prosperity.

The EPA and the Pebble Partnership, one of the groups pushing for the rule rollback, asked a federal court in 2017 for one week to finalize the agreement, ending a lengthy lawsuit filed after the Obama administration preemptively blocked the mine in 2014. But Pruitt eventually stepped back from that proposal and decided to put the agreement on ice.

Obama “killed the opportunity for thousands of well-paying, private sector jobs, many of which would be held by native Alaskans, in an economic sector and region starved for gainful employment to sustain families,” the letter reads.

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