Huffman amendment would take out Pebble Mine by starving permitting funds - Must Read Alaska
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Sunday, December 8, 2019
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Huffman amendment would take out Pebble Mine by starving permitting funds

A bill rider introduced by a California Congressman is aimed squarely at the Pebble Project — and stopping it from moving forward.

Rep. Jared Huffman, a Democrat from Marin County, introduced an amendment to a $1 trillion spending bill that will go to the House floor next week.

Huffman’s amendment, which is all of 23-words long, prohibits the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers from using any funds in the appropriation for completion of the environmental impact statement for the proposed gold and copper mine in Western Alaska. The EIS process is under way right now, with a public comment period that ends July 1 with the Army Corps of Engineers.

The amendment is a form of reverse earmark, whereby Congress can direct or redirect funds to or from specific projects.

Huffman is an environmental lawyer who was employed by the National Resources Defense Council for six years. The NRDC is one of the most well-funded of the anti-Pebble environmental groups in the country and raises significant cash through fighting the Pebble Project.

“As Rep. Huffman formerly worked for the NRDC, we find it surprising that Rep. Huffman wants to circumvent the very NEPA process the NRDC calls the Magna Carta of environmental law. This is bad public policy and it should be summarily rejected,” Pebble Project said in a statement.

Huffman is the same congressman who sponsored legislation to put a padlock back on the Arctic, through his H.R. 1146, the Arctic Cultural and Coastal Plain Protection Act, which would repeal President Trump’s 2017 tax law that finally allowed drilling in ANWR, the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge’s Coastal Plain, sometimes called the 1002 Area.

The House Rules Committee took up the appropriation package, H.R. 2740, on Monday and continues its consideration of it at 3 pm on Tuesday, June 11 with testimony from amendment witnesses.

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Suzanne Downing had careers in business and journalism before serving as the Director of Faith and Community-based Initiatives for Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and returning to Alaska to serve as speechwriter for Gov. Sean Parnell. Born on the Oregon coast, she moved to Alaska in 1969.

Latest comments

  • No matter how you might feel about Pebble, it’s disturbing a guy from Marin County might have this much sway in what we do here. Next thing he’ll be telling Alaskans how they should regulate guns & any number of other things.

    • Rest assured that without a strong and principled opposition, these folks will do whatever they can to Alaskans and feel good doing it. Behind the smiling, trendy face of every Leftist is a Stalinist thug.

    • BS, he has no more say than any other house member. He just happens to have the experience to stop these anti Alaskan corporate polluters

      Nice try at bait & switch but it’s not working here. Go lobby some Russians

    • I find your comment disturbing and the reason I say that is if you are a Native Alaskan or a resident Alaskan you would more than anybody I know in saving your state and it’s natural resources. The headwaters of the Bristol Bay produce all of the spawn for a great many Coho salmon not to mention all the other indigenous creatures to the area and I find it very disturbing that you are not on board with protecting that???

      • Your ignorance is disturbing. Any ecosystem study that fails to include humans and human activity & needs is completely bogus. We have strong environmental laws that will protect from Pebble being an issue with our environment. Those who want to prevent any development in Alaska are merely showing their own selfishness, not considering the needs and wisdom of Alaska.

    • Like the guy in another article who has a porn & rape fetish, this congressman from the land of fruit and nuts has a rape mentality and fetish for Alaskans.

  • As a 4th generation Californian living in the Bay Area, it sickens me that Rep Huffman has enough time and energy to focus on an issue in Alaska. There are plenty of problems here that are only getting worse. So much so that I am seriously comsidering relocation to another state as many of my friends and other natives are doing in droves.

    • No kidding. Like cleaning up poop off the city streets. Like finding meal tickets and free health clinics for illegals who are hiding out in sanctuary cities. And for the sea of drivers stuck on Golden Gate Bridge because Californians love new automobiles that are made from metals that come out of the ground from mines like Pebble ….. and gasoline that comes from Prudhoe Bay.

    • Said like a true corporate polluters boot licker! Lick Lick Lick

      • The world needs copper and gold. Period. You are lucky we have mined elsewhere to give you the product you are currently using. Future generations deserve it too, and if we can do this safely we should.
        What part of the environmental assessment did you feel was inaccurate?

        • I find your comment disturbing and the reason I say that is if you are a Native Alaskan or a resident Alaskan you would more than anybody I know in saving your state and it’s natural resources. The headwaters of the Bristol Bay produce all of the spawn for a great many Coho salmon not to mention all the other indigenous creatures to the area and I find it very disturbing that you are not on board with protecting that???

        • The assessment did not take many areas into consideration. It was rushed through and the public comment period is much shorter than it should be for something this important. The majority of Alaskans are against this mine and the potential dangers that arise having such a mine near the largest salmon run in the world. The mine as proposed would not be profitable at all with it’s projected size, and knowing that the ACoE is not taking into effect the scale that would make the mine profitable. The Katmai Bears of Brooks Falls would be heavily affected, unpon which the ACoE did not address at all. The largest mis-step by the ACoE is the fact that this lies in the ring of fire. The area experiences large earthquakes, and saying that a tailing damn would not fail under a magnatude 9 earthquake is purely ignorant. I am not against mining, just this mine is the “WRONG MINE, WRONG PLACE”

        • I’m a future generation, don’t want Pebble, don’t need Pebble, it should not exist. It has a finite life and therefore a finite value, by protecting the run of Salmon you get a recurring source of income, into perpetuity whose value far outweighs that of Pebble. And don’t give me this crap about Alaskan freedom, etc, this mine is foreign owned and the benefits will not stay in Alaska

          • Ok Nicky, stand large in your role as future generation. Surrender your use of base and precious metals today. Set an example. Refuse the finite hydrocarbons that have enabled you to convey your superior ethical ideas to the unwashed and deplorables. Certainly someone will h your lofty values would refuse the “blood gold and copper” of Africa and the rapacious mining methods of China. So, great one, what’s your solution? A hide hut on some beach in the place that’s always been? Catching fish with hand tied gut nets? Dying young from black lung from your seal oil lamp? Surrender your privilege today mate! Cheers from someone who cannot suffer the ignorance.

      • Yep corporate polluters for sure

    • Rep Huffman needs to concentrate on cleaning up his own backyard before worrying about other State’s environmental situations.

  • “The amendment is a form of reverse earmark, whereby Congress can direct or redirect funds to or from specific projects.”
    The Pebble prospect isn’t a government project, for funds to be allocated or not.
    Congress can fund or not fund agencies, and they can ear-mark funding for particular projects – but they have no power to harm private enterprise through any agency.
    Rep. Huffman is grand-standing!

  • Taxpayers are not paying the ACOE to perform the EIS that Pebble has applied permits for (404 water discharge). Pebble has paying several millions of dollars to have this process performed. Of all states, California which just legalized Shrooms and Peyote, (dangerous hallucinogens) has the audacity to pipe up and say what’s good or not good for AK. Unbelievable, how about you concentrate your misguided efforts on your own backyard that is in a bankrupt mess.

  • Used to be a member of the NRDC, until I saw they cared little about the environment and rather just padding their pockets with money from donations. The Pebble project is a money maker for them and their motives are not pure. Simple greed in place here. How arrogant is it for some clown from California that is getting paid beneath the table from the NRDC to put out an amendment telling Alaskans what they can do with their state. An amazing sense of entitlement for a Californian to tell us what we can and cannot do. The ACOE has come back saying the project is safe and clean. I think what Huffman needs to do is worry about the thousand cases of pollution in his own state. It is a mess down there but neither Huffman or the NRDC seems to care about protecting their natural resources. Just goes to prove this is all about money.

  • I believe the leftist/socialist/dims are not through destroying their own state of Mexifornia. To divert attention from the mess they have created and are not done with, they are trying to focus the attention of citizens on something far away from their own back yard. Alaska, for the moment. They must think their “platform” has jurisdiction over the entire country. Either that or people must rise across the country to support their stupidity. Not going to happen. They are spending their time and effort trying to make Alaska into the “new Mexifornia”, with help from lib/socialist/dims in our state, not fixing their own hellhole. Alaskans can contact our federal representative and senators (maybe not Murkowski) and demand they resist the “resistors”. No other state should have the authority to trash Alaska. When/if that happens, Alaska is in even worse trouble than now, with the lib/socialist/dims driving out legislature.

    “So much of left wing thought is a kind of playing with fire by people who don’t even know that fire is hot”. George Orwell.

    • “No other state should have the authority to trash Alaska.”

      They don’t.

      We’re likely to do it ourselves with Me. Colder’s full approval.

      We get what deserve if we sanction Pebble which is inevitable loss of tremendous fishery which is why Ted Stevens opposes the Pebble project.

  • Like it or not, Alaska is a State of the United States. Therefore Alaska is subject to policies, procedures, strategies, and legislations of the federal government even if originated and supported by non-Alaskans. You can’t feed at the federal trough and then complain about who’s putting in the slop. Besides, the Pebble Mine is as usual a corporate short term money maker with no regard for the common good or long term possible irreversible disaster. And as usual dangles the old carrot of jobs jobs jobs to shift focus from obvious serious risks. How many Exxon Valdezes before Alaskans get a clue?

    • Say “Dr”,
      Where are you from? Everyone (pretty much) is aware that Alaska is a State. Those policies you’re talking about, you know, the socialist/dim policies, are an insult to Alaska. “Feeding at the federal trough” is a misnomer when it comes to the BS introduced by the mexifornian, Huffman. What’s at stake is the “old carrot” of jobs for Alaskans and an opportunity to help American industry overcome the dependence on foreign materials. Exxon Valdez has nothing to do with it. More propaganda from an anti-Alaskan, it sounds to me. I don’t know how you define “short term”, but it’s not the lexicon that fits the Pebble project. Maybe you should go back where you came from and leave Alaskan business to Alaskans.

      “The worst advertising for socialism is it’s adherents”. George Orwell. Is that you he describes?

  • Yo….the great majority of Alaskans are AGAINST the Pebble Mine…way more in the region are against it…quit this drivel of outsiders trying to control what Alaskans want to do..we do NOT want the Pebble Mine…by a FORIGN company who doesnt give a rats a— about Alaska.

    • Drivel? Majority of Alaskans? “FORIGN” company? Sounds like you aren’t an Alaskan either. BTW, check your spelling.

    • About two-thirds of that foreign company is owned by Americans.

    • Dear Ben
      You dont know jack about me. 33 year Alaskan. And every poll for the last 10 years shows the MAJORITY of Alaskans are against the Pebble mine. But dont let facts get in your way.
      Every poll. Every one…not one ..nada..not even a single one on 10 years backs up your drivel.

      • I read most of those polls. They were tricky worded. “Do you want this great big nickle, or this little tiny dime?”

      • Good day Dieder: I see you claim longtime status so can you share your position in our economy? Maybe you have a low carbon imprint and are a subsistence survivor. Or maybe you are employed by the government as a “protected” class where you can “justify” your views through the bias of the “better than”. Maybe you are a money manager at the capital management firm that wanted their own private “Shangri-La” and used corruption to try and influence the public. I’m sure there are folks who are curious. Shed some light on your motivations please

    • If the majority of Alaskans are against the project then why did the 2016 ballot proposition that would have effectively removed any possibility of the mine being built get voted down by almost 70% of the voters?

  • What is wrong with an American looking out for America? It doesn’t matter what state Rep. Huffman is from. My husband is a Bristol Bay fisherman. We live in Washington State. I certainly hope
    our Representatives are paying attention! Maybe if more Americans we’re paying attention to this train wreck of an operation, the best interests of America will be fulfilled.
    Pebble Mine is owned by a CANADIAN. company called Northern Dynasty.
    I believe that makes them a foreigner.
    Check your facts.

    • I have.
      Its the people who don’t have a solid line of work, the tribes, and those who DID NOT RECEIVE A FISHING LICENSE.
      You have your license, the assessment shows scientifically why they concluded it was extremely low risk and that in the event of a CATASTROPHIC FAILURE the risk is MINIMAL to the watershed.
      So that being said, we will assume you have not read ANYTHING regarding it and are just conveying your feelings. That’s it. Your feelings based on absolutely nothing but rumor. Not the actual documented facts that are part of the legislated process. Not that.

    • Mr. Colder lives pretty much in an emotionally charged world nearly devoid of objective factual content. He knows what he knows because he’s Ben Colder and if you disagree with him you get tagged as a socialist or some other not very clever label like “dim” and are dismissed.

      • Joe: The tags seem to fit you well.

      • Joe,
        I state my opinions, based on facts and common sense, unlike some others. I have a right to an opinion, just like you do. The Bristol Bay “limited entry” permit holders are 90%+ individuals who don’t reside in Alaska, like Sue, above. Lack of knowledge, phony statistics and a hand out for Alaskan resource $$ (salmon), seems to drive most of their comments against Pebble, not reality. I wasn’t going to waste a quote on you, but here it is.

        “Only two things are infinite, the Universe and stupidity, and I’m not sure about the former”. Einstein. If the shoe fits—-

    • Carpet bagger much? Washentonians should fish their own damn waters.

      • It’s Washingtonians. If you’re going to insult me, you could at least spell it right.

  • I posted the following in “The Mainichi” an English Japanese newspaper – “Fukushima radiation has been found in Western Alaska waters, in a surface sample, by an amateur. It would be reassuring if some professional from Japan showed some concern, and looked into this. It is fishing season and American officials reassure us that Alaskan fish are safe to eat, but there is too much money at stake, for any American fisherman to want scientific sampling to determine the real extent of Fukushima radiation.”
    There are over 20k Pebble investors just on stocktwits forum alone – they are talking about a PR campaign to bring awareness of the possibility of Fukushima radiation in BB fish, to the Japanese public. Y’all want to play hardball? Well, game on.

  • NRDC needs to be shut down and their lawyers sent to jail for treason

  • All Americans need to keep an eye on our country.
    It doesn’t matter what state the permit holders are from. We are Americans. Americans travel for work all over our country. A great example is our Armed Forces. You don’t have to live or work in a particular state to care and have a vested interest for all fifty of our United States.
    I’ve read enough about this mine and other mines that have failed to have an informed opinion that sees the potential risks to the Bristol Bay watershed. Not to mention the permanent destruction of the pristine land to create the infrastructure needed to support this mine.
    Pebble Limited Partnerships hired consulting firm Knight Piesold Limited to argue the EPAs assessment of Pebble Mine. Knight Piesold is the same firm that engineered the Polley Mine in British Columbia, Canada. The Polley Mine tailings dam failed in 2014. The impact to the Frasier River watershed has been disastrous, affecting drinking water, swimming, heritage sites, communties and sudden, lethal injury to fish, their feed and spawning grounds. I would certainly not have confidence that Knight Piesold can promise a fail safe mine in Alaska. The Polley Mine disaster is another case for
    ” wrong mine, wrong place”.
    I would disagree with this project whether or not my husband is a Bristol Bay permit holder. I want whats best for our country in the long run.
    Since 2008, 340 people have lost their lives in these failures in Canada. Do you trust Pebble Limited Properties and Knight Piesold Limited with our American and irreplaceable resources? Or with American livelyhoods and lives at risk. I don’t.
    Just my humble opinion.

    • KP engineered the initial design for the dam, but the contractor decided to alter it, to save money. KP pulled out because of that, not wanting to be involved in an altered design. KP’s design called for many millions of tons more support at the downstream base. KP’s design wouldn’t have failed, even though the base materials were weak. The altered design was responsible for there not being enough weight to keep the base material from moving.
      And further – you don’t sound like a fisherman’s wife. You sound like an NRDC spokes-person. You’re either being coached as what to say, or you’re NRDC. You’re using all their talking points, in the same way as they do.

    • You haven’t countered my point that two-thirds of Pebble is owned by Americans.

    • Maybe Alaska needs to not be a state anymore then. If that’s what it takes to get the outside meddlers out of our affairs. Maybe we should be like Puerto Rico, or just go back to being a territory.

  • That’s so funny. I had never heard of the. NRDC until I read about it in the comments section of this article.
    Instead of countering your comments, I think I’ll retire from these posts. I’m going to try to find out what a fisherman’s wife sounds like.
    Aargh matey…is that better?

    • Well, someone in your NGO had better counter my points – Oh, that’s right, every time I brought those points up in other media, I kept getting the same no response. However, the same opponents came back under new avatars, and recycled the same fake facts. NRDCommies!
      “Aargh matey” is a software pirate’s trademark. Where you pick that up?

  • I just wish our own elected officials would have the guts to stand up like Ted Stevens and make a statement like. ‘ Wrong Mine Wrong Place ‘ …. and stop this insane idea of a open pit mine in the Headwaters of the States most prolific salmon fishery the world has ever seen .
    Stand Up Murkowski and Sullivan …
    Stop this nonsense ….. People of Alaska don’t want this mine….
    Apparently Mr Huffman is listening…

  • ACoE say’s that if Huffman bill passes, that they will comply and stop all work on Pebble. IMO they said that to fire a warning shot across all businesses bows. IMO ACoE is really saying that if the Huffman bill passes, it will become an existential threat to all businesses – that if Pebble can be targeted, then any business can be targeted. ACoE could file all sorts of protests, and even refuse to comply, but they’re not into political activism. They’re simply going to keep their heads down while they go about their jobs. I expect there to be a huge backlash and Huffman’s presenting his bill, which is revealing his past association with NRDC, will result in businesses to quit thinking of NRDC as an annoyance, and start considering them, and all other environmental activists as an existential threat. I’m thinking that we may be seeing the end of Sue and Settle and Obstruct and Delay. Huffman’s bill may be the straw that breaks the camel’s back.

  • Sue, the impact from the Mt. Polley tailings dam failure has not been “ disastrous,” contrary to what the environmental groups such as the NRDC and Trout Unlimited would have you believe. Four years after the failure, the sockeye have returned to Quesnel Lake, near the tailings dam, in droves. https://www.wltribune.com/news/sockeye-salmon-return-in-droves-to-quesnel-lake-watershed/ It seems that sockeye are far more resilient than you seem to imagine. So far as I know, the only casualty from the dam failure is one dead rainbow trout. https://news.gov.bc.ca/releases/2014ENV0064-001177

    Moreover, Knight Piesold was not the engineering firm of record when the dam failed. It had warned the operator that there was a build up of water on top of the damn, more than it had been designed for, and this excess water was caused by a failure of the operator to adhere to the design.

  • Thank you. I stand corrected.

  • You’re welcome, Sue.

  • – The California Rep who added the 23 word amendment lives in Marin Co Cali
    – He was a lawyer for NRDC for 6 years- NRDC is funded heavily from China to block projects that would benefit the US
    – China has 72% of the Earths current “Rare Earth” metals
    – Pebble is a threat to China.

    • If NRDC really is working for China, against us, they need to be brought down hard!

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