Wednesday, August 26, 2020

Proposed Alaska mine opposed by high-profile Republicans with fishing interests, gaining White House interest

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"Federal approval of a controversial gold and copper mine in Alaska that would be the largest in North America may be put on hold after a small group of influential Republicans — including the president’s son, Fox News host Tucker Carlson, a wealthy Trump donor and one of the vice president’s former top aides — launched a full-court press to block the project," The Washington Post reports. "The proposed Pebble Mine was on the verge of winning a key permit from the Trump administration despite concerns from environmentalists that it could significantly damage Alaska’s world-renowned sockeye salmon fishery in nearby Bristol Bay."

However, Donald Trump Jr. told his father at a fundraiser this month that he opposed the permit. Trump donor Andrew Sabin sided with the president's son, and Tucker Carlson echoed the sentiment on his television show later. "Trout Unlimited President Chris Wood, who has worked to marshal Republican opposition to the mine, said the flurry of appeals from members of Trump’s inner circle could prove decisive," the Post reports. "Both Trump Jr. and Carlson are members of Trout Unlimited, a nonprofit dedicated to the conservation of fish habitats, and Trump Jr. has fished in Bristol Bay several times; his brother Eric celebrated his bachelor’s party there."

The last-minute push has prompted the Trump administration to reassess its decision on the mine. Two anonymous individuals familiar with the matter "said administration officials are now weighing whether to delay granting a key permit to the mine’s sponsor, Pebble Limited Partnership," the Post reports. "This marks an abrupt turn of fortunes for the project and underscores the freewheeling nature of decision-making in Trump’s White House, as well as the persuasive power of the unofficial lobbying campaign, both public and private, to block the mine."

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