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Thank you Christine

The United States of America has a long history in the pride of its constitutional freedoms. One of these freedoms is the right to “due process” which is part of the fourth and fifth amendments of the Bill of Rights. The right of due process guarantees the safeguard from arbitrary denial or judgment by a government agency outside the sanctions of law. Without due process we become subject to mob mentally and ill-informed opinions.

The National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) is a United States environmental law that was enacted on January 1, 1970. NEPA’s importance can not be overstated. It has been called the world’s equivalent of an “environmental Magna Carta” (the great Charter of the environment). To date, more than 100 nations around the world have enacted national environmental policies modeled after NEPA.

The purpose of NEPA is to ensure that environmental factors are evaluated judiciously in a collaborative decision making process of federal agencies. NEPA established the national environmental policy by requiring executive federal agencies to prepare environmental assessments (EAs) and environmental impact statements (EISs) to accompany reports and recommendations. The requirement of federal agencies in coordinating assessments, reviews and statements according to environmental treaties, statutes and laws is heavily reliant on procedure that is both responsible and strenuous.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Northern Dynasty Minerals entered into legal proceedings over EPA’s 2014 Proposed Determination, of which, essentially impeded Northern Dynasty’s right to due process under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). The EPA conducted a multi-year study—the draft “Bristol Bay Watershed Assessment,” (BBWA for short) using hypothetical mine scenarios to predict impacts. These actions were not only unprecedented, but entirely outside the sanction of NEPA law.

Any entity of the government that empowers itself without scrutiny to circumvent legislative process warns against the very reasons why the Bill of Rights was drafted. The decision of granting or denying Northern Dynasty Minerals a federal mining permit should be judged by the rigours of the legislative due process of the National Environmental Policy Act.

This week looks to officially open a new pathway for Northern Dynasty’s long journey for the right to due process.

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