New EPA boss vows to rely on science
Gina McCarthy, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) new administrator visited Alaska' Bristol Bay region as she considers what actions, if any, her agency should take regarding the proposed Pebble Project. During her trip she assured residents of the town of Iliamna that the agency would not let public pressure sway its decision.
Lisa Reimers, CEO of the Iliamna Development Corp., said McCarthy's "fact-finding" visit to Iliamna was a good sign.
Reimers told Watchdog.org the on-site visit left her with mixed feelings.
"I felt really good about (McCarthy) meeting with us, but at the end of the day I was so exhausted and still unsure of what could happen," she said.
McCarthy met with community members in Dillingham, a hub city in the Bristol Bay region located about 135 air miles from Iliamna, and toured the site of the proposed large-scale copper and gold mine before holding private and public meetings with residents of Newhalen and Iliamna.
Reimers said McCarthy assured the people of Iliamna, a community of about 120 residents located some 180 air miles southwest of Anchorage, that the EPA's decision on whether to invoke a seldom-used but potent provision in the Clean Water Act would not be a "popularity contest," and that the entire process will be "based on science."