Biden’s Alaska Mining Ban: Another Win for Green Extremism

EWY Media /
EWY Media /

Two Native American-owned organizations are taking the Biden administration to court over its decision to halt a major mining project in Alaska. Iliamna Natives Limited and the Alaska Peninsula Corporation, representing small Native American communities, filed a lawsuit against the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in the U.S. District Court for the District of Alaska. They claim the EPA exceeded its authority by effectively shutting down the Pebble Mine project, arguing it would harm the region’s salmon population.

The EPA’s move, based on the Clean Water Act, has drawn support from environmental groups opposed to the mine’s impact on Bristol Bay. This decision marks a rare use of the Act’s “veto authority,” which allows the EPA to block projects deemed harmful to water bodies. According to Alaska Public Media, this authority has been exercised only three times in thirty years.

“The EPA has overstepped its bounds by wielding this ‘veto power’ under the Clean Water Act,” argues the lawsuit, filed jointly by the village corporations representing the Iliamna and the Alaska Peninsula communities. They assert that the EPA’s action undermines the regulatory framework set by Congress, which primarily vests permitting authority with the Army Corps of Engineers.

“The Pebble deposit in Bristol Bay holds significant economic promise, but the EPA’s intervention has halted its development,” stated Damien Schiff of the Pacific Legal Foundation, legal counsel for the plaintiffs. “This move by the EPA sets a dangerous precedent, claiming unchecked authority where Congress intended a structured regulatory process.”

Iliamna Natives Limited, situated near the proposed mine site, and the Alaska Peninsula Corporation, formed by several smaller village corporations, emphasize their economic stake in the mine’s potential benefits. They challenge the Biden administration’s stance despite its pledge to engage with tribal interests in environmental decisions.

“The Biden administration claims to listen to Native concerns but ignores the economic opportunities vital to our communities,” remarked a spokesperson for the plaintiffs, echoing broader frustrations among Alaska’s Native communities.

Critics argue that the EPA’s decision reflects broader environmental policies prioritizing conservation over economic growth, particularly in resource-rich regions like Alaska. The lawsuit underscores a wider debate over federal regulatory power and its implications for local economies and tribal sovereignty.

The plaintiffs contend that the EPA’s intervention not only hampers economic prospects but also infringes on the rights of Native communities to determine their economic futures.