Report: Army Corps Of Engineers To Reconsider Pebble Mine Permit Rejection

Here’s a news item that could provide undeniable proof that the Pebble Mine news cycle may never fully be put to rest! As the tweet above suggests, Alaska Public Media reports that the U.S. Army of Corps of Engineers may again reconsider its decision to reject the Pebble Mine permitting application after first tentatively approving a version of the controversial Bristol Bay project. Here are some details:

In an 81-page ruling Tuesday afternoon, the agency’s reviewing officers conclude the Alaska District made a few mistakes, particularly in how it dealt with the possibility of a catastrophic failure of a dam that would contain waste rock from the mining operation. The permit denial was in part based on the potential damage to fish and water quality in the event of a catastrophic dam breach, even though the Army Corps concluded a catastrophic event isn’t “reasonably foreseeable.”

“My decision to remand the permit application denial back to the Alaska District is not a permit authorization,” Gen. Kirk Gibbs, the commander of the Pacific Ocean Division, said in an emailed statement. “The District has been asked to re-evaluate specific issues in the administrative record to ensure that the decision is well-supported.”

Pebble faces other obstacles, beyond the Corps permit. Earlier this year the Environmental Protection Agency, at the urging of tribes and others that fish the salmon-rich waters of Bristol Bay, concluded the mine was incompatible with the Clean Water Act. The EPA decision effectively vetoed any proposal to develop the Pebble deposit that would have a similar impact on the same rivers.