Salmon? Who cares?

CNN reported yesterday:

The Environmental Protection Agency told staff scientists that it was no longer opposing a controversial Alaska mining project that could devastate one of the world’s most valuable wild salmon fisheries just one day after President Trump met with Alaska’s governor, CNN has learned.

It’s not really “could,” from what I’ve been reading. It’s will. It’s there is no way it won’t.

The EPA publicly announced the reversal July 30, but EPA staff sources tell CNN that they were informed of the decision a month earlier, during a hastily arranged video conference after Trump’s meeting with Gov. Mike Dunleavy. The governor, a supporter of the project, emerged from that meeting¬†saying¬†the president assured him that he’s “doing everything he can to work with us on our mining concerns.”

And “everything he can” is unfortunately a lot, because he considers himself a dictator and acts accordingly and it seems that no one can stop him.

Dunleavy met with Trump aboard Air Force One on June 26, as the President’s plane was on the tarmac in Alaska. The President had stopped there on his way to the G20 summit in Japan.

Four EPA sources with knowledge of the decision told CNN that senior agency officials in Washington summoned scientists and other staffers to an internal videoconference on June 27, the day after the Trump-Dunleavy meeting, to inform them of the agency’s reversal. The details of that meeting are not on any official EPA calendar and have not previously been reported.

Those sources said the decision disregards the standard assessment process under the Clean Water Act, cutting scientists out of the process.

So in other words the decision is illegal, but that won’t matter.

The same day Trump and Dunleavy met in June, the EPA publicly announced that it would begin reconsidering whether to withdraw the Clean Water Act restriction on the Pebble Mine. EPA scientists and staff believed that they would then have weeks or months to reassess previous findings and potentially permanently stop the project, according to the sources.

Instead, immediately after Trump met with Dunleavy, EPA officials received an invitation from EPA headquarters to attend the video conference the next day, June 27.
During that video conference, EPA General Counsel Matthew Leopold said that a decision had been made to lift the restriction on the Pebble Mine proposal and that no further consideration of the matter was needed, sources said.

“I was dumbfounded,” an EPA insider said. “We were basically told we weren’t going to examine anything. We were told to get out of the way and just make it happen.”

Even some Republicans think this is outrageous.

Christine Todd Whitman, who served as an Environmental Protection Agency administrator during the George W. Bush administration, said the EPA’s decision to lift the restriction on the mine before the agency’s scientists fully reviewed the matter could violate the Clean Water Act.

“It’s politics trumping policy and good science,” said Whitman, who in 2017 joined two other former EPA administrators who served under Republican presidents in opposing the mine due to its estimated environmental impacts. “If this goes forward now with all the holes and the insufficiencies … there’ll be a lawsuit, no question about that.”

Let’s hope it’s successful.

Remember the IPCC report the other day on threats to the food supply? This is a new one, and one that we could easily avoid by just not doing it.

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