Pebble owners support call for IG review of Army Corps permitting
Mining News Pro - Northern Dynasty is supporting calls for an Inspector General (IG) review of the US Army Corps of Engineers’ (USACE’s) conduct in the Pebble project permitting process.

“Bring it on – we have everything to gain and absolutely nothing to lose,” said Northern Dynasty president and CEO Ron Thiessen.

Northern Dynasty’s US subsidiary, The Pebble Partnership, had written a letter to the IG of the US Army, the US Department of Defense and the USACE, joining a call for the review of the USACE’s management of the Pebble project EIS.

The Pebble Partnership’s call for an IG review echoes that of the US Congress House Committee on Oversight and Reform, which issued a letter to the IG on August 10.

In the letter, committee chairperson Carolyn Maloney, environment subcommittee chairperson Harley Rouda and member of congress Jackie Speier claimed that the USACE expedited the Clean Water Act permitting and NEPA review process “at the expense of a thorough scientific review”.

The committee members also believe that the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) reversal of its opposition to the mine in 2019 had been motivated by political influence and not by scientific analysis. The letter stated the EPA’s decision was made a day after President Donald Trump met with Alaska’s Governor, Mike Dulvaney, on Air Force One. “[It] raises questions about whether EPA’s decision to withdraw the proposed determination was arbitrary and capricious.”

Responding to the letter, Thiessen said that the committee were repeating “baseless and unfounded claims” made by environmental activists and opponents.

“Not only do we welcome the kind of independent scrutiny and professional judgment an Inspector General review would bring to the Pebble permitting process, we jumped at the opportunity to add our voice to those in US Congress.”

In a separate statement, The Pebble Partnership’s CEO, Tom Collier, said that he was confident the IG would find allegations raised against the USACE to be baseless.

“’The work of the USACE on Pebble has been under assault since day one and it is time for this mischaracterisation of their integrity to end. The best way to accomplish this is to have the USACE work on the Pebble project reviewed by the IG.”

“Am I a little fired up about this? You bet. The staff at the USACE are among the hardest working regulators with the most integrity among the federal agencies and the misguided attacks upon their process are completely unfounded,” said Collier.

The USACE issued a final EIS for the project on July 24. A permit could be issued as soon as 30 days after the final EIS – on August 23.