A Federal District Court judge dismissed a case brought by environmental groups opposed to the Pebble Project. The groups had challenged a decision by the Environmental Protection Agency that reversed an earlier preemptive denial of the Pebble Project before the project proponents could even apply for permits.
Pebble CEO Tom Collier called the decision by Judge Sharon Gleason a major victory for Pebble, the State of Alaska, and the rule of law.
“For years, we have sought basic fairness for the Pebble Project to be fully vetted under the regular permitting process and to block attempts to preempt that fundamental right. Once again, a coalition of anti Pebble groups including national environmental groups like the Natural Resources Defense Council have been proven wrong in their ad hominem attacks on Pebble. This time a Federal District Judge in Alaska has ruled that their most recent attack did not even state a cause of action that required review by the court. Therefore, their lawsuit against EPA was dismissed for lack of jurisdiction,” Collier said.
“We have long held that the preemptive veto against Pebble was poor public policy and that decisions about the merits of developing a mine at the Pebble Prospect should be made through the traditional permitting process. The preemptive veto was brought against the project by the Obama era EPA and before a single permit to develop had been filed with a regulatory agency. The current administration made the correct decision to withdraw the preemptive veto and allow the project to be reviewed in the normal state and federal permitting process.” Collier said in a statement.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers schedule calls for the Final Environmental Impact Statement and the Record of Decision for the project to be issued by mid-year.
“We see no reason why this schedule will not be met, especially now that this meritless litigation has been dismissed,” Collier said.
However, the environmental groups calling themselves The Defense Alliance are well-funded, motivated, and lawyered-up, and might be expected to pursue the case to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. The groups stated on Friday that they are considering all legal options.
The Defense Alliance members are the Bristol Bay Native Association, United Tribes of Bristol Bay, Bristol Bay Regional Seafood Development Association, Bristol Bay Reserve Association and Bristol Bay Economic Development Corporation.