Rep. Young Condemns EPA Actions In Revoking Mine Permit
January 13, 2011
Alaskan Congressman Don Young responded strongly today to the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) revocation of Mingo Logan Spruce No. 1 Mine’s 404 permit. This permit, issued under the Clean Water Act by the Corps of Engineers, was awarded in 2007 following an extensive ten year review.
“For the second time in one month, the Administration has waited until Congress is not in session before making a controversial announcement, hoping it will fall under the radar," said Rep. Young. "This move by the EPA is unprecedented, politically motivated, and sets a dangerous tone for the responsible development of natural resources in our country. The Corps of Engineers is an efficient and effective engineering and management agency that is more than capable of making decisions regarding permitting without being second guessed by an agency with no real interest in resource or infrastructure development.
“Such irresponsible decisions destroy the good faith placed between industry and government, ruin economic development, and put us on a slippery slope. Alaska is home to many responsible mining ventures, employing a number of people, and contributing to our state’s commerce. The notion that at any point the EPA can use political motivation to overreach its authority and revoke our permits is unacceptable. I will be asking Chairman Mica to hold a hearing in the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee on this underhanded move by an Administration determined to stop American growth and development.”
Currently, under section 404 of the Clean Water Act, the Corps of Engineers issues permits for placing dredged material and/or fill material into an area defined as a disposal site. The Administrator of the EPA can veto a Corps' decision to issue a permit if it believes there is an unacceptable adverse impact to shellfish beds and fishery areas, municipal water supplies, recreational areas, or wildlife. However, the EPA has never attempted to revoke a permit that has already been issued.
Congressman Young introduced H.R. 5992 in the 111th Congress which would amend the Clean Water Act to remove the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) ability to veto an Army Corps of Engineers decision regarding 404 permits. This legislation will be re-introduced in the 112th Congress.