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Pebble lawsuit delayed

January 13th | Molly Dischner, The Bristol Bay Times-Dutch Harbor Fisherman Print this article   Email this article  

The lawsuit over the EPA's effort to prevent a mine in Bristol Bay is officially on hold.

The Pebble Limited Partnership, which has discussed building a large-scale copper and gold mine in Bristol Bay, but not yet filed for federal permits to do so, sued the Environmental Protection Agency in 2014.

The company asserted that the agency acted improperly in its efforts to block the mine.

On Jan. 4, District Court Judge H. Russel Holland signed an order giving the company and the agency until March 20 to agree on a timeline for resolving the case, and otherwise putting the legal process on hold until then. Attorneys for both sides of the case filed a motion requesting that late last month.

In October, Pebble's lawyers filed a motion saying that the two sides planned to go into mediation in the lawsuit.

The EPA produced a Bristol Bay Watershed Assessment that found that large-scale mining would harm the region's salmon fisheries. That's the basis for the agency to prevent the mine with a Clean Water Act designation, but the company seeking to build the mine has asserted that the assessment was unfairly put together, and that EPA violated the required public process in developing it.

In November, Holland ordered the EPA to stop work until the lawsuit moved forward.


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