The Associated Press – WASHINGTON — The Trump administration settled a lawsuit Friday over the proposed development of a massive gold and copper mine at the headwaters of one of Alaska’s premier salmon fisheries.
The Environmental Protection Agency settled the long-running case with the Pebble Limited Partnership, agreeing to allow the Canadian-owned company to seek a federal permit to build its mine near Bristol Bay.
Pebble sued in federal court over what it claimed was EPA’s collusion with mine opponents to block the project, which a study shows could pose significant risk to salmon populations. A review by EPA’s inspector general found no evidence the agency acted improperly.
“We understand how much the community cares about this issue, with passionate advocates on all sides,” said Scott Pruitt, the EPA administrator. “The agreement will not guarantee or prejudge a particular outcome, but will provide Pebble a fair process for their permit application and help steer EPA away from costly and time-consuming litigation.”
According to court documents, the two sides had been exploring ways to resolve the case since August, when President Barack Obama was still in office. The proposed mine for has been hotly debated for years, with environmental activists like actor Robert Redford opposing development and multinational jewelers saying they won’t use minerals mined from the Alaska prospect.
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