Backers of the proposed Pebble Mine in Alaska agreed to pause their lawsuit against the Environmental Protection Agency, a move many are reading as a bid for friendlier terms under the incoming Trump administration.
In 2015, the EPA proposed under the Clean Water Act to limit where the massive mine would be allowed to dispose its waste, in order to protect the nearby Bristol Bay salmon fishery.
In response, the mine’s backers filed suit in a U.S. district court, alleging that the EPA colluded with three federal advisory committees to arrive at a predetermined conclusion that handicapped the proposed gold and copper mine.
On Dec. 30, 2016, however, that litigation came to a temporary end, with both the Pebble Limited Partnership and the EPA agreeing to stay the case until March 30. In a joint motion, the parties said the stay “would serve judicial efficiency and economy so that the parties may continue to pursue ways to resolve this case without the press of litigation” ( Pebble L.P. v. EPA , D. Alaska, No. 3:14-cv-00171, 12/30/16 ).
Pebble Operator Seeks Fairness
By punting the case until after Donald Trump’s inauguration, Pebble is banking on more favorable treatment from the new administration, said Mike Heatwole, a company spokesman.
“This is an opportunity for a fair, objective review, not the preemptive one that was undertaken by the current EPA, which we and others viewed as highly biased and predetermined against us,” Heatwole told Bloomberg BNA.
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