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calendar   Friday - September 30, 2011

Hope for Change

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Court Rules In Favor of Pebble Mine



An Alaska Superior Court judge has upheld the validity of temporary, revocable land and water use permits for mineral exploration at the Pebble copper-gold-molybdenum project in the Bristol Bay region of southwest Alaska.

Project opponents have waged a lengthy legal and political battle against the massive project, frequently citing risks to salmon and other fishery in the Bristol Bay

Bristol Bay is the large inlet just above where the Aleutian Island Chain connects to the mainland. It is where most of the salmon swim through on their way to their spawning grounds.

Superior Court Judge Eric Aarseth delivered a major blow to the environmental activists who have been using regulations lawsuits and billions of dollars to prevent the Pebble Mine Project in Alaska from helping to provide American energy independence. Judge Aarseth handed down a 154-page ruling in favor of Alaska in the most recent lawsuit aimed at preventing the Pebble Mine Project from even being able to begin the permit process.

Pebble Mine is one of the largest copper deposits in the world. It is in the United States and could release us from our dependence on buying copper from China, which provides 97% of the copper used in the world.

The environmentalist have argued that the Pebble Mine MIGHT impact salmon in Bristol Bay, Alaska, even though the mine is over 200 miles north of the area.

The judge ruled that evidence “did not support the plaintiffs’ claims that mineral exploration activities in the Pebble Project area were significantly impacting or causing long term harm to concurrent uses.”

After summarizing the state’s monitoring of Pebble’s exploratory activity to ensure compliance with the terms of the permits, Aarseth wrote:

“All of these documented efforts support the conclusion that the state was proactive when issuing permits with appropriate restrictions on Pebble’s activity and not merely rubber-stamping the applications. Further, the review process as well as the field surveys/investigations indicate that the State was actively enforcing the permits issued and thus placing itself in a reasonable position to revoke the permits if necessary. Last, by responding to concerns by Nunamta both in the review process as well as in enforcing the [permit] conditions, the State showed a reasonable concern for the concurrent users of the Pebble Area.”

Aarseth found Nunamta did not meet its burden of proof to show environmental harm and concluded, “Moreover, contrary to Plaintiffs’ assertions, the weight of the evidence tends to show that exploration activities are not changing water quality in the Pebble study area.”

He was also persuaded that Pebble has a “successful reclamation program” and there was no evidence of damage to vegetation. Aarseth similarly dismissed claims of harm to caribou or fish populations.

“The evidence shows that more than 20 years after minerals were first discovered at Pebble, the site continues to have pristine water and support wildlife and fisheries resources,” Aarseth wrote. “The harms that Plaintiffs’ witnesses describe are speculative; they are neither harms occurring in fact nor did they show that the harm will necessarily occur.”

The case was Numanta Aulukestai v. State of Alaska, DNR, and Pebble Limited Partnership and the whole decision is here.



There is another similar case, Rosemont Copper, a copper mine near Tuscan Arizona that could employ 1000, also being held hostage in the court system by the EPA and its tree hugging minions.


While this ruling is a significant win for the goal of American energy Independence, it is not the end of the issue. Environmental groups have aggressively fought the Pebble Mine Project for years. This particular lawsuit has been ongoing since 2009. Since Judge Aarseth’s ruling, they say they are taking the case to the Supreme Court.

Want to get involved? Visit Resourceful Earth to see how.


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Posted by Drew458   United States  on 09/30/2011 at 03:35 PM   
Filed Under: • Big BusinessEnvironment •  
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