A federal agency says it will consider a petition seeking to list a population of harbor seals living in a freshwater Alaska lake as a threatened or endangered species.
The National Marine Fisheries Service says it has accepted a Center for Biological Diversity petition to list seals that live in Iliamna Lake 200 miles southwest of Anchorage.
The agency has a Nov. 19 deadline to perform a status review of the seals, estimated to number 250 to 350 adults. The agency can propose a listing or reject it.
A listing would present a potential environmental hurdle to the Pebble Mine.
The proposed open-pit copper and gold mine would require a 140-mile road to Cook Inlet. About 50 miles would pass along the lake shore, where seals hunt for salmon.