THE LA TIMES:
What a difference an election makes. Shortly after President Trump’s appointee, Scott Pruitt, took over the EPA in 2017 he met with the chief executive of Pebble Limited Partnership, owned by Canada-based Northern Dynasty Minerals, and then just hours later rescinded the Obama administration directive to protect the sensitive wetland area from mining activities. Pruitt later backed off and sent the action for a fuller regulatory review — and then quit his job under a storm of criticism about ethical lapses.
But the EPA has continued Pruitt’s campaign to loosen environmental restrictions and greenlight controversial projects, and on Tuesday the agency announced that it would not use its veto authority under the Clean Water Act to block the mine. That frees the Army Corps of Engineers to decide whether or not to approve the project. (Interestingly, the Army Corps’ preliminary environmental analysis of the project was criticized as insufficient by a Seattle-based EPA official — the same one who, apparently under pressure from superiors in Washington, D.C., rescinded the Obama-era directive. Yes, it can make your head spin.)