Rick Whitbeck: Pebble bounced back to Alaska Division for further review



Late Tuesday, without much fanfare, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Pacific Division ruled that its Alaska Division erred when it denied the Pebble Limited Partnership’s permit to develop the copper, gold, molybdenum and rhenium mine in Southwest Alaska.

Noting that the rejection was based on faulty science, the Pacific Command returned the process to Alaska, ordering that team to review and correct the errors.

While noting that this doesn’t mean Pebble’s entire mine plan — one which received a clean Final Environmental Impact Statement from the Corps — should be approved, the order does bring to question whether the ultimate decision to deny Pebble’s permit was political in nature, as groups like ours believe, or scientific, as radical environmentalists claim.

Pebble still faces a pre-emptive veto of its project by the Environmental Protection Agency, who, working in conjunction with environmental organizations and wealthy ideologues, halted the established permitting process with clear political shenanigans.  That move is still under legal and regulatory scrutiny by mine proponents.

Still, yesterday’s announcement is good news for Pebble, its trillion-dollar deposit, the hundreds of jobs an operating mine would bring and the State of Alaska, as Pebble’s landholder.

We’ll continue to update this story, unabashedly promote Pebble and jeer the hijacking of a non-political permitting process for purely political purposes.

Rick Whitbeck is the Alaska State Director for Power The Future, a national nonprofit organization that advocates for American energy jobs and opportunities. Contact him at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @PTFAlaska.


  1. It’s 125 miles from Bristol Bay. Science is clear that the mine can operate and the fish can thrive…Its 125 miles from Potters Marsh in South Anchorage to Talkeetna. How can you kill a fish from that far a way?? The science is fictional and only based on control and fear of a successful resource being developed in our state better than anywhere else in the World. YES PEBBLE YES to real science.

    • Ask that to the Canadian mine that dumped toxic water in the stream and killed fish in Southeast Alaska. Ya might see the science then.

      • AKNDAN; You are correct, the mine was called Mount Polley mine in British Columbia , a major earthen dam breech producing a major disaster spilling toxic slurry estimated at 27 million cubic meters damaging Mt. Polley Lake and Quisnel Lake then running off into South East Alaska tidewater where coincidentally the Chinook Salmon are no more.

        • There’s no Chinook Salmon in SE now? This guy is amazing in the amount of absolutely absurd stuff he says!

      • Wow. The cherries are ripe because you are picking.

        Since you’re talking salmon runs, heck, one Chinese long-liner can take out a generation in one day.

        Local opposition to Pebble has zero to do with the environment. It’s all politics, demographics, business interests, and enviro-propaganda.

    • Acid generated sulfides, leads, processing chemicals run down hill to Lake Illiamna red salmon haven, then into Bristol Bay.
      Summarize; your entire piece is incorrect 😉

    • You’re on the right track. Pebble’s owners first and biggest mistake was not properly paying off BBNA executives and promising lucrative “do-nothing” jobs to executive family members.

      If, or when, Pebble actually happens, it would threaten the current demographics of Bristol Bay, not fisheries.

      First, it could bring in labor and population not members of or dependent upon BBNA.

      Second, it could, ohmigosh, lessen the dependency of BBNA members upon BBNA.

      Neither is good for the folks working for BBNA and it’s especially threatening to BBNA executives.

      BBNA’s power is in the poverty of it’s members.

      Yes, I lived in the Bristol Bay region and yes, I frequently deal with corporations. BBNA is always vying to be the most corrupt of them all.

    • How the heck are pebbles supposed to harm fish anyways?! Maybe if it was a boulder mine or a toxic sludge mine we could be worried, but pebbles? Talk about a useless fight. Riverbeds are full of pebbles.

  2. Everybody is an environmentalist to one degree or another, as for pebble, God did not put the Bristol Bay Red salmon spawning grounds there to be monkeyed with.
    We are good stewards of the environment and as DNR points out, pebble and other claim holders have the potential to dig up 796 square miles into a series of open pits.
    Advice to foreign owned Northern Dynasty, ”Stay the hell off Pebble Creek”. 😉

    • There is an exactly ZERO percent potential that 796 square miles will be dug up and turned into open pit mines. Once again the world’s largest open pit mine is 10 square miles and it began operations in the 1800’s. The Pebble prospect is looking at a footprint of around 5 square miles, with an open pit that would be ONE (1) square mile.

      There’s absolutely no reason to continue to spout demonstrably false information like you continue to do.

      • You are incorrect. Several open pits, not just one.
        Besides, what do you know about mining? Ever worked at a claim? of course you haven’t.

        • And how big are these other proposed open pits? Oh wait there are no other proposed open pits.

          Never worked a claim, don’t need to to understand simple concepts like 1 square miles is not equal to 796 square miles. What claims have you worked? Any actual mines or are you still trying to make up for your grandpa and how he destroyed the environment in his platinum mine?

    • Have you ever to a modern mining site?

      If you so much as spill your coffee you get written up, among other things.

      You’ve drank the Kool-Aid. The opposition to Pebble Bay is actually more about local politics and BBNA control than it is about the salmon or the environment.

      A large employer with good salaries is a far larger threat to the powers that run BBNA and to fishermen looking to man their boats than the environmental threat a mine is to Bristol Bay. Hence, that’s one reason why you hear so much “threat to the salmin.”

      All it would take would be a couple of long-liners in the right spot and they alone could devastate the fisheries.

      You sound like a Fed, in that you’d rather lock up all of Alaska’s resources and turn it all into a National Park…now if you want to talk multi-national corporations, let’s talk about the tourism industry.

      • Worked at 2 hard rock, and one placer claim also made a film called ”Pay Dirt in Platinum” where granddad worked a dragline and 97 bucket dredge at Goodness bay mining company in Platinum Alaska. My research of the pebble prospect showed a substantial displacement and destruction of Red Salmon spawning habitat.
        Native corporations surrounding pebble creek forbid a road to Lake Illiamna, and the airport Northern Dynasty wanted and must have.

        • Is your “film” viewable or was it a home video? Didn’t the Platinum mine get fined and people go to jail for violations, were you one of those people?

  3. As long as the left pursues renewables and EVs, Pebble will stay alive. The harder they push, the more they remove the wooden stake from Pebble’s heart, and the closer we get to the mine being dug.

    Ironic that the thing they claim to hate the very most becomes an absolute necessity based on requirements for their brave new energy future. Cheers –

  4. The EPA has become a criminal gang.

    WOTUS anyone?

    The PM 2.5 debacle. Where nanoparticles are sprayed in the skies over this continent (and probably others…) by the metric ton everyday yet ignored as being the threat they are, while attention is focused on some patsy of a particle size discrimination issue.

    I think they did a lot of good at the beginning, but like nearly every single other federal agency they are rotten to the core at this point.

  5. They want EVs and windmills so, so badly. They just don’t want to dig up the mineral deposits that all those wonderful ‘environmentally friendly’ require. Maybe in some third world country but certainly not in the U.S.

  6. I wish the radical environmental organizations backed by wealthy idealogues running around with their hair on fire screaming about proposals on land would take a moment to look at the causes of the unhealthy oceans the salmon actually spend the majority of their life cycle developing in. US regulation has made it nearly impossible for major chemical plants to properly handle and dispose of hazardous waste of which there are thousands of storage drums generated annualy. The same Chinese owned shipping companies that delivers Americas daily consumption of “junk” is being paid millions of dollars to dispose of Hazardous waste of this nature. Barges loaded with nothing but drums and tanks filled with hazardous waste are being towed out to sea and once they are in international water its all being dumped in the ocean.Yes the containers had tracking devices to see where they ended up and Yes the same ocean the wild caught pacific salmon used to thrive in is where they end up. The Chinese are much smarter than Americans. Thats why Joe and Hunter spent so much time there together on our dime. They were both useful idiots.

    • Hidden behind the facade of environmentalism is China and its operatives, China Joe and the Kenyan.
      China controls the world’s metal markets and Pebble will shift market control westward.
      The West needs Pebble now more than ever!

  7. The fact is, without expanding resource development Alaska will always be a very small state run by an even tinier less productive group protecting their interests.

    So if you want the same ol’ Alaska run by the same old commercial fishing interests, the same multi-national tourism companies, and by Federal employees go ahead and oppose resource development.

    Yes, mining and timber companies are multi-national, but unlike tourism and fishing they actually employ folks year-round at a living wage.

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