Ninth Circuit reverses a key decision on Pebble Mine


Pebble is a proposed mine in Western Alaska that is being litigated through politics and the court system, with layers of lawsuits and briefings being filed over multiple legal actions. 

The latest legal volley is in the weeds and deals with a partial reversal of a regulatory ruling, but is an important win for the anti-Pebble people: A federal court last Thursday partially reversed a lower court ruling that had dismissed a lawsuit by environmental groups over the Environmental Protection Agency’s decision to withdraw certain regulatory restrictions on the proposed Pebble Mine.

The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals sent the case back to an Alaska District Court, saying the EPA decision to lift certain constraints on the proposed mine must be reviewed.

The action is a victory for groups such as Trout Unlimited and a long list of Bristol Bay and environmental entities, which sued in October, 2019.

The argument by Trout Unlimited stated that the July, 2019 decision by the EPA to withdraw its 2014 “proposed determination,” was a regulatory decision and reviewable by the courts.

That proposed determination was essential for a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers permit. Ultimately, in November of 2020, the Corps rejected the permit application for Pebble under Section 404 of the Clean Water Act, saying that as proposed, the mine would likely result in “significant degradation of the environment and would likely result in significant adverse effects on the aquatic system or human environment.”

That ruling is under appeal by Pebble.

The dissent in the 9th Circuit’s opinion, by Judge Daniel Bress, said that the majority’s ruling is a “serious misreading of the governing regulations, rewrote the rules that the EPA set for itself, and inserted courts into what was supposed to be the preliminary stages of a discretionary agency review process.”


  1. Today’s NAK stock price non-movement suggests a “Meh!” non-reaction from investors, so far.

  2. Everyone hates the Pebble Mine yet investors think they have the right to mess with everyone’s lives and screw the land just to make a fast buck.

  3. You really need to get out more. Not everybody hates Pebble. And this particular rare earths mine will get built, likely sooner rather than later. Cheers –

  4. Mining minerals is one of the hardest ways in the world to make money. Extremely challenging, extremely brutal, and extremely fickle. No rational or informed person would ever characterize the earnings as “a quick buck.”

  5. I love the Pebble mine – “not everyone hates the Pebble Mine.”

    But what do I know – I have been a practicing chemical engineer for over 1/2 century.

    With several advanced engineering degrees.

    I know more about heat & mass transport phenomena than the sum of any 100,000 eco, anti everything, do nothing maggots.

    Pebble will eventually be developed – Alaska has much of America’s rare earth materials.

    • You are probably correct Bucket but not before the technology exists to extract those minerals without destroying much of those spawning grounds.

  6. AGIMARC, you pretend to know the future. So, let someone who actually knows the future correct your delusion. There’s a food shortage coming and in that environment the Bristol Bay fisheries will take precedence over all else.

    If you’re a Pebble investor, you would be smart to sell. And before you go off pretending I’m anti-mining…I’ve done plenty of placer gold mining, including at Coal Creek, which is right next to Woodchopper Creek, which was Joe Vogler’s mine. He and I were allies in a battle against BLM and National Park Service trying to evict us from the area. So no, I’m not anti-mining. I’m against people who don’t know what they’re talking about running their mouths! It makes it harder for those of us who actually do know to be heard. Choke on it –

  7. Actually- this mine is farther out than you expect. IF it gets approved it will take 15-20 years to get set and produce. That’s the actual timeline from the company. With the permits not getting approval it could be the end for sure. However, legal morons will keep badgering in attempts to break down the system from both sides taking even more time.

  8. Actually, opposition to Pebble has consistently been between 50-60% and support has never topped 40% of Alaskans. The tribes and regional Native Corps don’t want it. The commercial fishing industry doesn’t want it. Most other local residents don’t want it. Even most elected Rs with any skin in the game or constituents that would be directly impacted don’t want it.

  9. Antonio Jordan: I concur that a massive food shortage is coming, more sooner than later. The reason being that there will be less food available (duh) … far less fish in Bristol Bay will be a part of it. Ocean acidity and warming. Less oxygen and more parasites in warmer rivers, reducing mortality.
    Hatcheries won’t be able to keep up as salmon will become cannibalistic, eating their own young to survive. Their natural food chain having been destroyed by ocean trawlers.
    Our natural runs will migrate to Russian waters because the warming trend will happen there a lot later. Look at maps of ocean currents. You can see what changes have happened already, and guess what further changes will happen. Bristol Bay could become barren.
    As for knowing the future, you have no clue.

  10. C-ALASKA: “Following months of intense debate and millions of dollars in campaign spending, Alaska voters defeated Ballot Measure 1 by a wide margin.
    Commonly known as the Stand for Salmon initiative, the measure was aimed at increasing protections for Alaska’s most iconic fish. It would have significantly toughened the environmental permitting process for mines, dams and oil developments in salmon habitat.
    The initiative faced strong resistance from the resource industry, Alaska Native corporations, unions and other groups. Opponents said it would hinder resource development in the state.
    The campaign against the initiative raised over 12 million dollars, far outstripping the initiative’s supporters, who raised over two million dollars.”
    You present unsupported opinion, EnviroNazi propaganda actually. I present historical facts. Public opinion on Pebble in actuality is 2/3 “Let’s see their plan first.” “OK, we’ve seen their plan, and it sucks.” … but what if a major mining company came in with an acceptable plan? I mean an on it’s face, no reasonable doubt, it protects the environment plan?
    That’s the great majority of Alaskan’s opinion of Pebble.

  11. Meanwhile, Trout Unlimited moves onward the epitome of AstroTurf…. like a couple of DC Stoners who saw a Ducks Unlimited bumper sticker while partying it up one night and got a million dollar idea..

  12. New sales pitch: rare earth minerals for national security!
    I remember when it was “just” a gold/copper porphyry mine.
    Someone go wake the general; he needs to start typing!

  13. “GOD”? You don’t even know His/Their name? It’s Yahweh Yahweh Elohim … no comma. Elohim is a uni-plural noun, signifying unity in oneness between two distinct, individual entities.
    If you were in heaven, you would be in a place of no shadows, no contrasts, no gray-scale. There would be nothing you could see except a blinding light. Neither would you be able to hear anything other than a deafening thunder.
    You would need to be given a higher form of eyesight to see any forms, and noise filters to distinguish any voices. Angels and other heavenly beings were created with that ability. The only thing they can’t see, nor hear, is the Father.
    The Son told us plainly that none have seen the visage of, nor heard the voice of the Father, except He, and that He came to reveal the Father to us.
    Apparently the Father and the Son also interact and communicate with each other, in ways that no others can detect.
    (Mat 11:27 No man knows the Son [In His true form] but the Father; neither knows any man the Father, except the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal Him.)
    This means that even the angels and any other beings in heaven have never seen the Father, nor heard His voice.
    The Son, being of the same Self Existent Life/Light as the Father, can see and hear the Father. Angels and other heavenly beings were created with the ability to see and hear the Son’s chosen human appearance, and everything which He created, but nothing more. Humans were created with even lesser ability.
    I repeat … you don’t even know His/Their name. Otherwise, you would have used it, instead of “god” which is not a name, but just a title.

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