Court Allows Pebble v. EPA To Proceed

The Pebble Limited Partnership’s lawsuit against the EPA, alleging violations of the Federal Advisory Committee Act, will go forward . That’s according to a ruling Thursday by federal court Judge H. Russel Holland. Holland denied the EPA’s motion to dismiss the case, which was argued last week in Anchorage court.

Mike Heatwole is a spokesperson for Pebble. Pebble opponents were quick to say today they are disappointed with the ruling. Among them is United Tribes of Bristol Bay director Alannah Hurley, who acknowledged the setback, but says it’s important to keep perspective.

While the FACA case moves forward, the judge has ordered the EPA to do no work on the Bristol Bay Watershed Assessment, or the dredge and fill restrictions it had intended to finalize earlier this year. Judge Holland’s temporary injunction, requested by Pebble, will remain in place, according to Heatwole.

No timeline exists for the case, though both sides said it was likely to go on for at least a year.

In a separate but related lawsuit, the third filed by Pebble against the EPA in federal court, Pebble is suing for more EPA documents and emails. Pebble says the agency has been slow to respond to its requests under the Freedom of Information Act.