Army Corps denies appeal from Pebble mine backers

By Hannah Northey | 04/16/2024 04:34 PM EDT

The Army Corps of Engineers first rejected federal water permits for the gold and copper mine in 2020.

Alaska’s Bristol Bay watershed.

Alaska’s Bristol Bay watershed. EPA/Flickr

The Army Corps of Engineers on Monday doubled down on its decision to deny federal water permits for a controversial proposal to build a massive gold and copper mine in Alaska’s pristine Bristol Bay watershed.

The agency rejected an appeal from the mine’s developers, the Pebble Limited Partnership, to reconsider its decision in 2020, under the Trump administration, to deny the project a federal water permit over concerns about potential impacts to salmon fisheries in the area.

In early 2021, developers appealed to the Army Corps through an administrative process within the agency. Last year, the Army Corps said it would take a fresh lookand reconsider part of its decision. But Col. Jeff Palazzini, who commands the Army Corps’ Alaska district, concluded in a record of decision posted to the agency’s website Monday that the appeal was ultimately being denied.


Palazzini said the agency denied the appeal after reviewing its 2020 mine plan permit application, as well as EPA’s move in January toissue a rare veto to block the mine. The state of Alaska and the mine’s developers are now suing over EPA’s decision and arguing the federal agency should pony up more than $700 billion for blocking development of the mine.