Pebble Partnership, which hopes to build a gold and copper mine in Alaska, isn’t denying suggestions that it might someday try to expand the project, as environmentalists fear.
But any expansion would have to satisfy federal regulators, Tom Collier, chief executive of the Pebble Partnership, told Bloomberg Environment.
“It wouldn’t surprise any of us that are working on this particular permit application that there might be another one at some point in the future,” Collier said. “But that expansion or second phase would require an entirely new, thorough, and rigorous process. You don’t get a leg up and an easy expansion once you’ve developed part of the project.”
If and when it’s built, the Pebble Mine would tap into one of the biggest gold and copper deposits in the nation. Its supporters say it would bring much-needed jobs and economic growth to the region. The project’s opponents, however, argue it would have vast environmental impacts, including endangering the world’s largest wild salmon fishery, as well as human health.
The plan stalled under President Barack Obama, which slapped tough Clean Water Act restrictions on the project in 2014. The Trump administration settled with Pebble last May, however, letting the mine move forward.
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