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Cohen Group Independent Review findings on EPA's Actions at Pebble


ANCHORAGE, Alaska - Today, the Cohen Group released a report detailing its findings from an independent review conducted on the Environmental Protection Agency’s actions at the Pebble Project.  The Alaska Miners Association's issued the following response:


The Alaska Miners Association (AMA) today welcomed the release of the report of an independent review by The Cohen Group evaluating actions by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) at the Pebble Project and called upon policymakers to thoroughly review the findings to ensure future investment in Alaska.


Former Defense Secretary and U.S. Senator William Cohen was asked to conduct the independent review by the Pebble Limited Partnership following the EPA’s Bristol Bay Watershed Assessment (BBWA) and Final Determination that would preemptively restrict mining activities in the watershed, prior to the project initiating the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) permit review process.  The Cohen Group stated that it undertook the review on a condition of independence, and that Pebble would have no influence on the Group’s and Mr. Cohen’s views.


“The Cohen Report is just the latest in a series of findings that EPA had a predetermined plan to stop the Pebble Project.  AMA encourages our elected officials to review the report in detail to ensure that all projects are afforded the opportunity to submit a permit application for comprehensive legal and scientific review,” said AMA Executive Director Deantha Crockett.  “We have consistently maintained that natural resource development projects must be objectively evaluated within our established NEPA process.  EPA’s disregard for the NEPA process has denied Alaskans from learning the specifics of the proposed development at Pebble and has set a dangerous precedent for other companies considering investing in Alaska.  We appreciate the Cohen Group’s findings and hope policymakers learn from them to ensure this is never allowed to happen again in the United States.”


In the report released today, the Cohen Group unveiled findings from a review of thousands of pages of documents that and determined that EPA did not conduct its process in a manner fair to all stakeholders.  In addition, the Cohen Group questioned whether EPA conducted the BBWA with a predetermined outcome in mind, observed that the agency consulted with anti-development advocacy groups, and recommended the Inspector General and Congress further investigate the EPA’s actions at Pebble.  Finally, the Cohen Group expressed concern that the agency diverted from a normal permit application review process and questioned why the NEPA process was ignored by the EPA.  “The fairest and most appropriate process to evaluate possible development in the Pebble Deposit Area would use the established NEPA process to assess an actual mine permit application, rather than making an assessment based upon these hypothetical mining scenarios as the justification for imposing potentially prohibitive restrictions on future mines,” said Cohen. “I can find no valid reason why the NEPA process was not used,” he added.


The full report can be found at:  http://www.cohengroup.net/news/reports


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