EPA has full authority in AK- Letter by Vic Van Ballenberghe

The following was submitted as a Letter to the Editor to Anchorage Daily News by Vic Van Ballenberghe. It’s worth repeating here:

Senator Cathy Giessel (Alaska decisions should be in Alaskans’ hands, ADN 2/15) claims that the EPA and the federal government have no authority to scientifically evaluate proposed harm caused by development of Pebble Mine. As a state lawmaker she should know that EPA has full authority to evaluate this project under the provisions of the federal Clean Water Act. And if the best available scientific evidence indicates the mine will violate provisions of federal laws, EPA has full authority to prevent development.

Giessel labels the mine as “an imaginary resource development project.” Apparently, it potentially threatens one of Alaska’s largest “imaginary” salmon fisheries that sustainably supports thousands of “imaginary” fisheries jobs. Giessel also states that our state’s permitting process sets “the global standard for environmental protection.” Those of us who have witnessed the past two decades of progressively weakened resource permitting regulations would disagree.

It’s been said that Pebble is the wrong mine in the wrong place at the wrong time. Should we trust state legislators or the EPA to scientifically determine if development of the mine is wrong or right?