A textbook example of why the U.S is vulnerable foreign mineral and mining extortion.
Politicians are demanding that the U.S. become more self-sufficient in crucial metals and minerals, but then they block domestic mining at every opportunity. Alaska’s Pebble Mine project is the latest to join the casualty list.
The Pebble site holds an estimated $300 billion to $500 billion in mineral resources and could be one of the world’s largest suppliers of copper and gold. Electric cars as well as wind and solar power require enormous amounts of copper. Investors have invested nearly $1 billion on exploration, engineering and studies to meet regulatory demands.
Yet last week the Biden Environmental Protection Agency issued a determination under the Clean Water Act that would ban disposal of mining waste within 308 square miles of the Pebble site, regardless of whether it poses an environmental risk. This could be a fatal blow to the mine.
The political assault on the project began when the Obama EPA pre-emptively vetoed it before the government even did an environmental review. The Trump EPA later let the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers do an environmental analysis, and in July 2020 the Corps found the mine would have “no measurable effect” on local fish populations.
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