ANCHORAGE (KTUU) - The Army Corps of Engineers granted the Environmental Protection Agency an extension to allow time for the Corps, EPA, and other agencies "to resolve outstanding comments" on Pebble's application.
According to a letter dated Oct. 22, the EPA requested an extension to give the EPA "enough time for the Alaska District to conduct its work and confer with EPA on its CWA Section 404 comments.
Specifically in the letter, the EPA requests to have 30 days after the Army Corps' provides the EPA with its preliminary drafts of decision documents to review them.
Also, the EPA asked from some sitdown time with the Alaska District staff during the extension time-period to discuss the issues raised in the comment letter.
You can read the EPA's letter below.
On Oct. 24, The Army Corps of Engineers responded and granted the EPA's extension request.
The new deadline is Feb. 28, 2020.
Assistant Secretary of the Army R.D. James granted the request in part "due to the overall complexity of the project and the number of comments the agency received during the public notice and comment period."
According to Assistant Secretary of the Army R.D. James, "The Corps will also open a 30-45 day cooperating agency review period currently anticipated to conclude mid-February 2020. I believe this significant open and transparent review period will afford EPA the opportunity to make any further and necessary determinations regarding the project under the above-referenced MOA."
You can read the letter from Assistant Secretary of the Army R.D. James below.
Ultimately, it’s up to the Army Corp of Engineer whether to grant a permit for the mine. The EPA has limited veto power as well. Congress is not directly involved, which is partly why Rep. Don Young (R-AK) said the hearing was a “waste of time”.