FAIRBANKS, Alaska (KTVF) EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler has withdrawn himself from deliberations over Pebble Mine on the grounds that he previously was connected to their law firm, according to AP.
Wheeler spoke about easing industry regulations at a Resource Development Council luncheon in Anchorage Tuesday saying, "so far, you all are the first people to have raised Pebble to me but if people do raise it, I just explain that under my ethics recusal with the agency, which I abide by, I can't discuss Pebble Mine."
Bristol Bay fishing communities have campaigned against the proposed gold and copper mine in southwest Alaska for more than a decade. Other Alaska residents including some from villages close to the site say they would welcome the jobs.
The EPA can veto Pebble's application, even if the Army Corps of Engineers approves the project.
Forty staff members worked on a document reviewing the Pebble environmental impact statement that includes 170 pages of comments, according to EPA Region 10 administrator Chris Hladick.
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