Anti-Pebble bloc sues EPA



Five groups opposing the Pebble Mine have sued the Environmental Protection Agency, hoping to stall or halt the environmental review process for the Pebble Project until, perhaps, a regime change at the White House would bring a Democrat back in office.

Bristol Bay Economic Development Corporation, Bristol Bay Native Association, Inc., United Tribes of Bristol Bay, Bristol Bay Reserve Association, and Bristol Bay Regional Seafood Development Association,  filed the lawsuit today.

Scott Kendall, former chief of staff to former Gov. Bill Walker, is the lawyer representing Bristol Bay Regional Seafood Development Association.

The complaint says the proposed “Pebble mine would destroy thousands of acres of critical habitat and miles of salmon streams that are essential to Bristol Bay’s commercial, recreational and subsistence salmon fisheries.”

The groups are challenging what the are calling EPA’s “unlawful withdrawal” of its preemptive veto of the mine, which is located on State of Alaska mining land located over 100 miles from the actual bay where fish are caught by commercial fishermen each year by the millions.

Highlights of recent Pebble legal zigzagging:

February, 2014: EPA issued its Proposed Determination under Section 404(c) of the Clean Water Act to preemptively veto ay permitting for “discharge of dredged or fill material related to mining the Pebble deposit into waters of the United States. …” This occurred under the Obama-era EPA.

May, 2014: Pebble Limited Partnership sued the EPA in three separate lawsuits.

May, 2017: EPA and Pebble settled the litigation. The EPA committed to “initiate a process to propose to withdraw the Proposed Determination.”

July, 2017: EPA issued a proposal to withdraw the Proposed Determination, requested public comments, and received over one million comments, most of them against reversing the pre-emptive veto of the mine permit.

July, 2019: EPA announced its decision to withdraw the pre-emptive veto.

October, 2019: The groups are asking the court to vacate the EPA decision to withdraw the preemptive veto of the permitting process, saying the EPA’s decision “is arbitrary, capricious, an abuse of discretion, and not in accordance with law.”

Pebble Spokesman Mike Heatwole said, today “They want to restore the preemptive veto, which vast majority of Alaskans thinks is horrible public policy and would be used to shut down all development going forward.”

Pebble is anticipating a final environmental impact statement to be issued early next year, followed by a “record of decision” later in 2020.


  1. Hmmm, wonder if any of those million comments against allowing the Pebble mine permitting to continue came from Alaskans? And yet Heatewole says the “majority” of Alaskans are for the mine ? Somebody’s lying!! By the way Suzanne, Alaska happens to be a “Red” state which was solidly for Trump in the last election. But no partisan politics here, most of us Alaskans just call it as we see it.

  2. The engineers say it is safe. Don’t believe them. When the risk is low, but the consequence is high, it’s time to just say no. Other things that can never happen:

    Three Mile Island
    Prince William Sound Oil Spills
    Deepwater Horizon Blowout
    The Titanic

    Don’t built it, folks. The salmon are forever. Pebble Mine isn’t.

    Have a look at this, and imagine it happening in the headwaters of Bristol Bay:

    And there wasn’t even an earthquake to initiate this collapse.

    And by the way, I’m an engineer.

  3. The reason the EPA withdrew the Watershed Assessment was because it was fraudulent. They wrote the conclusions first and gathered data to support those conclusions, not unlike what the glo-warmers do. Had it gone to court, they would have had their backsides handed to them. Not only do the groups suing the EPA want the permitting process halted, they want it halted based on a fraudulent study by anti-Pebble people at the EPA. Basing this on lie after lie after lie is not the best way to get from where you are to where you want to be. And every single time you guys pull a stunt like this, is another reminder to those of us that perhaps it is really time to return to an old fashioned subsistence lifestyle in the region. Don’t think you guys are going to like that a lot, but if it is what you demand, who am I to stand in your way? Cheers –

    • Scott Kendall is a third-rate lawyer and a small fry blowhard. Protect salmon? Kendall couldn’t protect his boss, Gov. Walker from the kiddie molestor. And, Alaskans already voted against salmon. Eat moose and tuna.

  4. Always has been and always will be…
    Wrong Mine in the Wrong Place…

    68 percent of Alaskans are against this mine…. science studies from Anglo American and Rio Tinto confirm that the mine would be detrimental to the watershed…. they knew it, smartly they gave their claims away and moved on. Northern DieNasty is desperate since all they have is Pebble….. Bristol Bay Forever ..!

  5. As a land-owner in the area, I have not seen anything yet that leads me to oppose the ongoing permitting process. If the process results in a workable plan, minimizing risks, the economic opportunities afforded otherwise hopeless dependent rural communities indicates approval as permitted at that time. Too soon to say never. And by the way, how did the salmon survive the worst environmental devastation of modern times in that area – like Novarupta in 1912, and others. Talk about toxic waste! In the extremely unlikely event a closely watched mine in a precious area of Alaska does suffer some catastrophic failure of redundant protections, it would not automatically result in the eradication of Bristol Bay salmon forever. To say so is not reasonable, and gives traction to those who would unreasonably argue for mineral extraction at any cost.

    • Nicely done. Was wondering when someone would get around to Katmai – Novarupta. If you think that one was fun, take a look at what Aniakchak did to Bristol Bay 3400 years ago. That eruption put centimeters of ash on the North Slope and Bristol Bay was in that line. Interestingly, the Aniakchak caldera now has a small lake, a river, and a small run of red salmon. Apparently the salmon do come back. Cheers –

  6. Ponderer:
    I know you all are wanting some economic opportunities there in rural Alaska.
    Would it be possible to find things related to fishing ? Or Ecco tourism ?
    I just would hate to see this mine come into the watershed. It will have a negative impact on your land. I’m truly concerned for you and your people of the area.
    Maybe if we all put our heads together we can come up with some good ideas .
    I just believe the mine proposes too many risks to your way of life, the waters, salmon, wildlife…
    If we head down this road there is no turning back….. and we repeat history.
    Once again we trade the environment for economic gains that in the end will lead us to empty rivers, lost lifestyles, and heritage that we will only read about in books….
    Thanks for your thoughts ….Mark…

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