November 25, 2020

Chairs DeFazio and Napolitano Issue Statements on the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Decision on the Pebble Mine Project

Washington, DC - Today, Chair of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure Peter DeFazio (D-OR) and Chair of the Subcommittee on Water Resources and Environment Grace F. Napolitano (D-CA) released the following statements after the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers announced its decision on the Pebble Mine Project in Bristol Bay, Alaska, denying the permit.

Chair DeFazio:

“Today’s decision by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is great news for the Bristol Bay watershed—home to the world’s largest natural sockeye salmon fishery— and stops the Pebble Mine project in its tracks. As I have said from the beginning, the Pebble Mine is a bad project that never should have gotten this far. Our Committee has been steadfast in our mission to shine a bright light on the otherwise opaque Pebble Mine project. We made requests for information and records to the Pebble Limited Partnership, the EPA and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. And last fall, we held a hearing to ensure that the voices of the very people who would be directly impacted by the Pebble Mine were heard in our Nation’s capital. And with this decision, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has made it clear that a foreign mining company with highly dubious business plans cannot be allowed to damage an irreplaceable habitat and the ancestral home of many Alaskan Natives.

“But make no mistake, our work isn’t done. While we celebrate this decision today, we must continue to fight the ongoing threats to our environment and communities. As Chair of the Committee with oversight of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Clean Water Act, rest assured that I will always fight to protect our environment and the public.”

Chair Napolitano:

“Our work on Pebble Mine has shown that the negative impacts of constructing this project will last forever, permanently altering the economic, environmental, and cultural importance of this region. Today’s decision affirms that protecting the last remaining salmon habitat and the ancestral home of many Alaskan Natives cannot be bought. I commend the Corps for moving us forward.”

Additional information:

In November 2020, DeFazio and Napolitano sent letters to the Pebble Limited Partnership and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Army Corps) requesting records about the proposed Pebble Mine Project after secret recordings of Pebble’s senior leaders—known as the “Pebble Tapes”—were released and suggest that Congress, the Army Corps and the public may have been misled about Pebble’s planned scale, scope and duration of the mine. To read these records requests, click here.

In September 2020, DeFazio and Representative Jared Huffman (D-CA) led a letter to U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Andrew Wheeler urging him to use his authority to veto the flawed Final Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the proposed Pebble Mine on the grounds that the project would have significant negative impacts on Bristol Bay, Alaska. To read the full letter, click here.
In August 2020, DeFazio issued a statement committing to continued oversight of the Pebble Mine Project after the Army Corps sent a letter to the Pebble Limited Partnership requesting additional scrutiny of the project. To read his full statement, click here.
In July 2020, when the Army Corps released its final Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) regarding the Pebble Mine project, DeFazio and Napolitano decried the Trump administration’s push to approve the project. To read their full statements, click here.
In June 2020, DeFazio sent a letter to Lieutenant General Todd T. Semonite of Army Corps to push for additional consultation before the Army Corps finalized the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) as it relates to the Pebble Mine Project, due to concerns raised by local tribes and communities. To read the full letter, click here.
In November 2019, DeFazio sent a letter to Lieutenant General Todd T. Semonite, expressing his concerns with the Army Corps’ review of the Clean Water Act permit for the development of an open pit mine to be constructed in the Bristol Bay watershed in Alaska. DeFazio urged the Army Corps to immediately prepare a revised EIS that addresses shortfalls contained in the earlier EIS. To read the full letter, click here
On October 23, 2019, the Subcommittee on Water Resources and Environment held a hearing titled “The Pebble Mine Project: Process and Potential Impacts.” To hear from those who testified before the Committee, and who are directly affected by this proposed plan, click here.
In July 2018, DeFazio and Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works Ranking Member Tom Carper (D-DE) sent a letter requesting an update on EPA’s environmental review of the proposed Pebble Mine project in Alaska, among other things. That letter can be found here.