Wednesday, July 22, 2020

Pebble Mine in Alaska should receive a fair review without extra regulatory obstacles

Fairfax, VA - July 22, 2020 - (The Ponder News) -- Americans for Limited Government President Rick Manning sent the following letter and comments to U.S. Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-Oreg.), U.S Rep. Jared Huffman (D-Calif.), U.S. Rep. Alan Lowenthal (D-Calif.) and U.S. Rep. Mike Levin (D-Calif.) urging reconsideration of objections to the Pebble Mine project in Alaska:

“The tundra wasteland that is the site for the proposed Pebble Mine was originally federal government property. However, the federal government decided to swap this less valuable land with the state of Alaska for the acreage that subsequently became Lake Clark National Park and Preserve via the Cook Inlet Land Exchange. The land was fine to give away when it had zero value for land that was suitable to be declared a national park, and it takes an incredible amount of hubris for the federal government to put additional restrictions on the use of the barren wasteland after more than hundreds of millions of dollars has been spent by private companies to create a plan to responsibly extract the strategic minerals that the federal government chose to trade to the State of Alaska.

“No one is urging that the NEPA process not be followed to ensure that the mine meets federal requirements, and once it does, then turn the decision over to the authorities in the state of Alaska. However, your complaints amount to little more than grandstanding as you want the goal posts to be moved in an obvious effort to renege on the original agreement when the land for Lake Clark National Park was obtained.

“After almost a decade, it is time to allow the owners of Pebble deposit to have their opportunity to present their engineering studies and mining plans for fair and honest federal scrutiny. When, and if, the NEPA process is successfully completed, the decision will lie where it rightfully should – with the state of Alaska which traded for this land and zoned it for mining in the first place.”

See Also:

Letter and Comments to U.S. Rep. Peter DeFazio, U.S Rep. Jared Huffman, U.S. Rep. Alan Lowenthal and U.S. Rep. Mike Levin, July 21, 2020

U.S. Army Corps poised to recommend approval of Alaska's Pebble Mine
Source: Reuters
July 20, 2020
The Pebble Mine would, if brought online, produce 70 million tons of gold, molybdenum and copper ore a year and create a pit 1,970 feet (600 meters) deep. A new road, pipeline and power plant would be built, according to the mine plan.

Office of the Comptroller of the Currency Issues Proposed True Lender Rule

Washington, D.C. - July 22, 2020 - (The Ponder News) -- The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) has proposed a rule that would determine when a national bank or federal savings association (bank) makes a loan and is the “true lender” in the context of a partnership between a bank and a third party.

Banks’ lending relationships with third parties can facilitate access to affordable credit. However, the relationships have been subject to increasing uncertainty about the legal framework that applies to loans made as part of these relationships. This uncertainty may discourage banks and third parties from entering into relationships, limit competition, and chill the innovation that results from these partnerships—all of which may restrict access to affordable credit.

The proposed rule would resolve this uncertainty by specifying that a bank makes a loan and is the “true lender” if, as of the date of origination, it (1) is named as the lender in the loan agreement or (2) funds the loan.

The deadline for comments on the rule is September 3, 2020.

Related Links

Federal Register Notice (PDF)

OCC Plan Would Destroy State Protections on Predatory Lending
Source: Americans for Financial Reform
July 20, 2020
“The OCC proposal is nothing more than a plan for unleashing predatory lenders to peddle dangerous financial products nationwide by eviscerating the power of state usury laws. Many states have interest rate caps that are very effective guardrails against predatory lending. They are highly popular among voters in diverse states, many of whom put the limits in place through ballot initiatives. This destructive rule would only serve the interest of high-cost lenders, who have been very active in lobbying this administration to enable them to expand abusive practices. The OCC has chosen to eliminate safeguards at a time when many communities are particularly vulnerable as they navigate the economic fallout caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. With other financial regulators, including the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, joining together to enable predatory lending in their own ways, we need Congress to step in and impose a national rate cap to protect all Americans from the harm of the debt trap.”

Thursday, July 16, 2020

National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) De-regulated

Washington, D.C. - July 16, 2020 - (The Ponder News) -- Representative Greg Walden (R-Hood River) released the following statement on President Trump’s announcement of the Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ)’s final rule updating the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) regulations:

“Rural Oregonians know too well the burdens of our dated, slow and tedious NEPA regulations. They’ve watched for years as special interest groups have hijacked the process to drag out needed forest and range management projects that would improve the health of our public lands and reduce the threat of wildfire on our communities. A lot has changed in the last 40 years and a fresh look at these regulations is long overdue. President Trump’s actions to streamline this process will help ensure that we can better manage our forests, protect our communities and improve our nation’s transportation and energy infrastructure into the future.”

For more information on what NEPA is and what it means to the country, read National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA)

See also: Summary of the National Environmental Policy Act