09.15.2020 1

Chinese market meddling in Pebble Mine threatens national security

By Catherine Mortensen

One of America’s foremost energy experts is raising alarms over China’s latest meddling in U.S. mineral production. Dan Kish, a distinguished Senior Fellow at the Institute for Energy Research, says the attempt by a dubious Chinese investment firm to undermine Alaska’s Pebble Mine is one of many “war tactics” China is using against the United States.

Kish, who has more than 25 years of experience in natural resource and energy policy, including as chief of staff for the Republicans on the House Resources Committee, says China’s long game is to control the world’s energy and mineral resources and make America dependent on them for elements critical to our national defense. Pebble Mine has a large deposit of rhenium used in military aircraft and is a key component in aircraft engines.

“China has useful idiots in the United States who are willing to shut down things that would help our economy, our national defense, and provide critical minerals,” said Kish. He says the environmentalists who are playing on people’s emotions “lack a basic understanding of modern mining techniques and global energy markets.”

In addition to rhenium, the mine has large deposits of copper, gold, molybdenum, and silver. Copper is used in building construction, electrical transmission, electronics, transportation equipment, consumer products, and machinery.

“This mine would make America stronger,” added Kish.

Last week Chinese investment firm, J Capital Research tried to short the Northern Dynasty Minerals stock which owns Pebble Mine.

“It’s no surprise that a Chinese firm would trying to submarine the mine’s future,” said Rick Manning, president of Americans for Limited Government. “The ultimate irony is the joining of environmentalists and China in opposing a U.S. mine.

Environmental extremists have long turned a blind eye toward the environmental disaster that is China. The unholy alliance between China and radical environmental groups makes China stronger and the world less safe because it gives the Communist Chinese government the keys to the materials necessary to build our most sophisticated weapons systems, subjecting our nation’s leaders to coercion.

Similarly, Kish finds it ironic that the entire premise of the left’s Green New Deal, “the environmentalists’ nirvana of wind and solar energy” is totally dependent on Chinese resources. He notes that China is the world’s largest producer of solar panels, controlling 70 percent of that market. “They also control the market for rare earth minerals that produce the panels. They control the magnets, the minerals, the metals, and this is not by mistake, this is by design.”


 

Kish says if China is able to shut down the Pebble Mine, that would send a strong signal to other countries that “China has our back — and they have a hand with a knife in it.”

Kish notes that under President Trump, for the first time in 60 years America is producing “more of our God-given energy resources than we consume,” and we need to be careful that China doesn’t get the upper hand.

In July, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers released its final environmental impact statement (E.I.S.) for the Pebble Mine project by concluding that the project would not lead to “long-term changes in the health of the commercial fisheries in Bristol Bay,” under normal conditions.

The E.I.S. noted that the mine would provide significant tax revenue to Alaska, create well-paying jobs in an increasingly poverty-stricken region, and “provide a domestic resource of raw materials lowering the United States reliance on foreign sources.”

However, in August, the Army Corps of Engineers wrote that Pebble Mine would “cause unavoidable adverse impacts to aquatic resources” in the area and is requiring the mine “in-kind compensatory mitigation within the Koktuli River Watershed … [to] compensate for all direct and indirect impacts caused by discharges into aquatic resources at the mine site.”

The letter continued, “Direct and indirect impacts at the mine site total 2,825 acres of wetlands, 132.5 acres of open waters, and 129.5 miles of streams. The District has also determined that compensatory mitigation is required for unavoidable adverse impacts to aquatic resources from discharges associated with the transportation corridor and the port site.  Direct and indirect impacts associated with the transportation corridor and port site total 460 acres of wetlands, 231.7 acres of open waters, and 55.5 miles of streams.”

Northern Dynasty Minerals, which owns the mine, has said it will be submitting its mitigation plan to regulators in the coming weeks — bringing the mine one step closer to be opened.

The truth is that America has many necessary rare earth minerals within our borders just waiting to be mined, and the U.S. government should move forward on approval of Pebble Mine as an important first step in restoring our ability to end our dependency upon a Beijing regime which is engaged in war tactics against us.

Catherine Mortensen is the Vice President of Communications at Americans for Limited Government.

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