Mining Projects to Ride in on Trump’s NEPA Bulldozer

WASHINGTON – Just days after the Trump administration proposed gutting a bedrock environmental law governing infrastructure projects, a new move by a federal permitting council would extend environmental fast-tracking to the mining sector—a sweeping move that will make it easier to build mines that can contaminate drinking water, fisheries and whole communities.

Specifically, the Federal Permitting Improvement Steering Committee (FPISC)  is voting to include mining as a covered sector under FAST-41 without public process. The FAST Act—Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act—aims at improving environmental review and authorization for covered infrastructure projects.

The following is a statement from Taryn Kiekow Heimer, senior advocate for the Nature program at the Natural Resources Defense Council:

“Mining is inherently toxic, and the industry is one of America’s least regulated and dirtiest polluters. 

“Fast-tracking environmental review for these projects will only increase the risks of harm to people and wildlife.  Mining in Bristol Bay, Alaska, for example, would threaten the world’s most productive salmon fishery, in a quest for gold and copper.  Projects that pose such potential danger to our waterways, lands, and communities should be scrutinized not rushed.

“And expanding the council’s reach without notice and public comment is both illegal and absurd.

Here is a 2018 letter NRDC and partners sent to the Federal Permitting Improvement Steering Committee (FPISC) contesting its ability to unilaterally expand its own authority.




The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) is an international nonprofit environmental organization with more than 3 million members and online activists. Since 1970, our lawyers, scientists, and other environmental specialists have worked to protect the world's natural resources, public health, and the environment. NRDC has offices in New York City, Washington, D.C., Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, Bozeman, MT, and Beijing. Visit us at and follow us on Twitter @NRDC.​


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