July 24, 2020

Chairs DeFazio, Napolitano Decry Trump Administration’s Push to Approve Controversial Pebble Mine in Alaska’s Bristol Bay

Washington, D.C. – 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) issued the following statements after the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers released its final Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) regarding the Pebble Mine project. The proposed mine site, in Alaska’s Bristol Bay Watershed, is one of the last pristine salmon habitat environments remaining in the world. The Corps’ final permit decision is expected as early as 30 days after the release of the final EIS.

“By pushing the Pebble Mine Project forward with a process that leaves many questions unanswered, the Trump administration is ignoring the voices of the tribal communities of Bristol Bay and risking irreplaceable habitats, including one the world’s last remaining wild salmon runs,” Chair DeFazio said. “If constructed, this would be the largest open pit mine ever built in North America, and it’s moving ahead at the behest of a foreign mining company with highly dubious business plans. As Chair of the Committee with oversight of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Clean Water Act, I will use every tool I have to hold this administration accountable for its failure to protect American communities and our environment.”

“The Trump administration is acting recklessly, and this time it will dramatically harm the fishing industry, the recreation industry, and the rights of Native peoples in Alaska,” Chair Napolitano said. “It is further concerning that testimony from our hearing last October regarding this project proved that the negative impacts of this mine will last forever, permanently altering the economic, environmental, and cultural importance of this region.”

Additional information:

In June 2020, DeFazio sent a letter to Lieutenant General Todd T. Semonite of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to push for additional consultation before the Corps finalized the Environmental Impact Statement 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 of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps), expressing his concerns with the Corps’ review of the Clean Water Act Permit for the development of an open pit mine to be constructed in the Bristol Bay watershed, Alaska. DeFazio urged the Corps to immediately prepare a revised Environmental Impact Statement (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