Magical thinking 271

The Obama administration will go to any length to prevent America developing its own mineral resources.


This is from Townhall Finance, by Lincoln Brown, writing on May 24, 2012:

The news came out today that the administration imposed its 20 year ban on uranium mining on federal land in Arizona with no scientific basis to support the move. In fact, an email from a National Park Service hydrologist states that the Draft Environmental Impact Statement fails to establish links between impacts on water and uranium mining. The leaked email states in part:

This is obviously a touchy case where the hard science doesn’t strongly support a policy position. Probably the best way to ‘finesse’ this would be fall back on the ‘precautionary principle’ and take the position that in absence of even more complete certainty that there is no connection between uranium mines and regional ground water, we need to be cautious.

One thousand jobs and $29 million in revenue are on the block in this situation.

Utah Congressman Rob Bishop who is the chairman of the House, National Parks, Forests and Public Lands Subcommittee released this statement [which he quotes in part and we have shortened further]:

I am concerned and troubled by the Department of Interior’s decision to proceed with the ban despite the fact their own experts cautioned that scientific evidence was lacking. It is now increasingly apparent that the decision was motivated by politics rather than science as the Administration would have us believe. … These emails illustrate that  Secretary Salazar blatantly ignored the scientific analysis in order to advance the Administration’s narrow-minded political agenda.

It’s one thing to oppose nuclear energy. It is another thing to curtail it without scientific evidence.

Lincoln Brown obviously reckons as we do that the “progressive” Left’s objection to the mining of uranium has nothing to do with any threat to water, but because it is used to produce nuclear energy.

Its hatred of nuclear energy derives irrationally from a hatred of nuclear weapons (if owned by the United States, that is – not necessarily if owned by Russia, China, North Korea, Pakistan, or Iran).

Uranium is not the only mineral that the Left-in-Power is against extracting from American soil.

This is from American Resources Policy Network:

Sounding the alarm on the possible impact of hypothetical mining — in spite of the fact that no permit application or specific plans have been submitted — the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has released a cursory review of the Bristol Bay Watershed in Alaska.

The EPA is the main instrument of Obama’s dictatorship.

The EPA’s unprecedented early action is part of the agency’s effort to derail the development of one of the largest domestic deposits of key strategic mineral resources (Copper, Molybdenum, Gold, Silver and Rhenium) – the so-called Pebble Deposit in Southwestern Alaska.

While the project has not even entered the permitting process, EPA seems ready to hit the kill switch — preemptively vetoing the project before any application has been filed. Here are some key facts:

· While the U.S. is the world’s third-largest Copper producer, the related risk exposure to possible supply disruption is disproportionately greater than it is for any other mineral. On the national security front, the Pentagon has already reported a “significant delay” to a major weapons program due to inadequate copper supply.

· The unilateral expansion of EPA powers under section 404(c) of the Clean Water Act would effectively give the agency ultimate authority to derail any project in the United States that touches on water — with potential impact for projects in every sector of the US economy, from mining to farming, manufacturing, building, energy, and water treatment.

· The EPA has asserted this preemptive power before, and it has been rebuffed in Federal Court. In April, a District Court judge ruled that the EPA’s previous unilateral expansion of its authority to revoke permits already granted for a coal mining project in West Virginia was illegal. In issuing the ruling, the judge termed EPA’s argument for such an expansive power a case of “magical thinking.”

American Resources principal Dan McGroarty’s statement on the issue:

The EPA’s decision to conduct a premature watershed study on a mining
project that has yet to enter the established permitting process is a 
dramatic expansion of the agency’s authority. When it comes to critical
metals and minerals, the US is heavily dependent on foreign sources of
 supply. The EPA’s actions will have a chilling effect on domestic resource
 development, which will impact our national security, manufacturing
 competiveness, and ability to innovate.

(See also our post Elements of future conflict, February 18, 2012)