Did EPA Act Fairly In Its Evaluation Of Potential Mining In The Bristol Bay Watershed?
March 27, 2015
Secretary Cohen has been retained by the Pebble Limited Partnership, which holds mineral claims to State of Alaska lands in this area. Secretary Cohen will evaluate the fairness of EPA's actions and decisions in this matter based upon a thorough assessment of the facts and informed by his experience as Secretary of Defense as well as his 24 years as a member of the US House of Representatives and Senate. He will have full discretion as to the means and manner of carrying out this review to ensure that it is thorough and unbiased.
"An investigation being conducted by the EPA's Office of Inspector General; inquiries and hearings into EPA actions by the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform; and, more recently, an inquiry by the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, as well as documents produced in response to Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests, have each raised questions as to whether the EPA proceeded fairly in its activities surrounding potential mining in the Bristol Bay watershed," Secretary Cohen stated. "Our review will focus on the fairness of the EPA's actions. We are not evaluating and will not express an opinion as to whether the Pebble Limited Partnership ultimately should be granted permission to mine the Pebble deposit. And, as was well documented during my years in public service, I have been a strong supporter of the EPA's mandate to protect the environment and keep our nation's waterways safe for human health as well as fish and wildlife," Secretary Cohen explained.
"A condition of accepting this assignment is that I have complete independence and discretion as to how this work will be conducted. I will follow the evidence wherever it might lead, and I will conduct this independent review as fairly and thoroughly as possible. Any conclusions that I draw from this review will be based upon the facts that I find and my judgment based on years of experience in government," Secretary Cohen explained.
"I have agreed to undertake this effort after reviewing a wide range of available documents, including those produced in response to FOIA requests, that persuaded me that legitimate questions exist which merit an in-depth, independent review. To ensure a comprehensive and unbiased evaluation, I welcome hearing from, and will be reaching out to, interested stakeholders, and I will carefully consider all points of view. I invite those who have information relating to the issues under review to meet with my team so that we might receive all relevant information for consideration," Secretary Cohen concluded.
No future press information or statements will be made until after the conclusion of the review.
Secretary William S. Cohen is the chairman and CEO of The Cohen Group, a strategic business consulting firm based in Washington, DC, which assists multinational clients from all sectors to pursue business opportunities and overcome problems in quickly changing markets around the world. The Cohen Group has a strategic alliance with DLA Piper.
Cohen currently serves on the corporate board of CBS, is a Senior Counselor at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), and serves on the board of directors of both the US-China Business Council and US-India Business Council.
Cohen served as the 20th U.S. Secretary of Defense, from January 1997 to January 2001, where he oversaw the largest federal agency organization in the U.S. with a budget of $400 billion (in today's dollars) and 3 million military and civilian personnel and wide-ranging responsibilities, including billions of dollars in annual environmental programs. His appointment as Secretary of Defense marked the first time in modern U.S. history that a President has chosen an elected official from the other party to be a member of his Cabinet.
As a three-term United States Senator (1979 to 1997), he was a recognized expert on defense and international issues, health care and government procurement. For 18 years, he chaired or was the Ranking Republican of the Oversight of Government Management Subcommittee, which primarily focused on reviewing and improving the operation of federal agencies. He also was Chair of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs and served on the Iran-Contra Committee that investigated the actions of President Reagan's Administration. Cohen is one of the few Republican Senators regularly endorsed by the League of Conservation Voters during his election campaigns for his strong and sustained leadership in environmental stewardship.
He also served in the U.S. House of Representatives for three terms (1973 to 1979). As a first-term Member, he came to national prominence for his service on the House Judiciary Committee during the impeachment proceedings in 1974, during which he was assigned responsibility to present the evidence for the Committee's articles of impeachment.
Cohen was born in Bangor, Maine and received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Latin from Bowdoin College (1962) and a law degree from Boston University Law School (1965). He has written or co-authored eleven books.
The Cohen Group is comprised of more than 60 professionals with deep experience working in senior-level positions in Congress, the White House, the State Department, the Defense Department, the Department of Homeland Security, the Transportation Department, the intelligence community, other federal agencies, and in European and Asian governments, international organizations, public policy institutes, and the private sector.
DLA Piper is a global law firm with 4,200 lawyers located in more than 30 countries throughout the Americas, Asia Pacific, Europe, and the Middle East, positioning the firm to help companies with their legal needs anywhere in the world.
Edited by Mary Kauffman, SitNews
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