Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, has threatened subpoenaing the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for documents regarding a potential Alaska mine.
Issa, along with Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), said he wants to know more about the intentions behind a water impact test EPA is conducting near a discussed mine site in Bristol Bay, Alaska.
The lawmakers said in a Thursday letter that EPA’s actions have “bordered on the absurd” by since the committee’s initial May 10 inquiry about the matter.
“It strains credibility that EPA has been unable to provide a full response to the Committee more than seven months after the initial request,” Issa and Jordan wrote to EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson.
“If EPA fails to provide the documents as requested, the Committee will consider use of the compulsory process.”
At issue is the proposed Pebble mine, which developers say could produce sizable amounts of copper, gold and molybdenum, which is used in alloys.
Native tribes, commercial fishermen and some Alaska state lawmakers are concerned the mine would harm Bristol Bay’s sockeye salmon population, which accounts for 46 percent of the world’s supply.
Those state lawmakers and tribes invited EPA to perform the water impact test.
But some House Republicans, along with industry, are concerned EPA might be using the water impact test to preemptively veto the mine. They say that could spook investment near waterways.
The mine’s developers have not yet filed a blueprint. EPA has therefore based its tests on a hypothetical mine, which generated criticism from some members of an independent scientific review panel.
Issa said he wants the EPA to provide documents about the review panel process and internal EPA communications about Bristol Bay.
“The pace of EPA’s production appears to be an attempt to obstruct the Committee’s legitimate oversight of EPA’s actions regarding Bristol Bay,” he said.