Wednesday, October 23, 2019

Congressional Subcommittee Considers Pebble Project

A US House subcommittee on water resources and environment is holding a hearing on October 23, in Washington DC, titled “The Pebble Mine Project: Process and Potential Impacts.”

The list of six witnesses scheduled to address the sub-committee include Dennis McLerran of the Cascadia Law Group in Seattle, Wash., and former head of the US Environmental Protection Agency’s Region 10 office in Seattle, as well as Tom Collier, chief executive officer of The Pebble Partnership, a subsidiary of Northern Dynasty Minerals in Vancouver, British Columbia.

The hearing follows a request by Washington-based advocacy group Earthworks to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to investigate possible insider trading involving Northern Dynasty, which wants to build a massive copper, gold and molybdenum mine in southwest Alaska, near the headwaters of the world’s largest run of millions of wild sockeye salmon.

News reports show that Earthworks filed a complaint with the SEC, the New Jersey Bureau of Securities and the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority detailing stock trades and communication related to Northern Dynasty days prior to decisions by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) that benefitted mine proponents. Records show that Northern Dynasty’s stock price rose after the EPA decisions were made public this summer.

Northern Dynasty has denied any wrongdoing by company officials.

Under the Obama Administration, the EPA in 2014 gave special protections to the Bristol Bay watershed, making it nearly impossible for Northern Dynasty to get required permits to build the mine. Then on June 26, 2019, the Trump administration’s EPA appointees announced reconsideration of those special protections and the start of processes to remove them. On July 30, 2019, the EPA lifted those restrictions.

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