Judge lets state intervene in Pebble case

Bristol Bay Watershed Map

Bristol Bay Watershed. (Map courtesy EPA)

The state is now party to a lawsuit against the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency over its involvement with the proposed Pebble Mine.

A federal judge granted the state’s request to intervene as a plaintiff in the case brought by the group behind the project, Pebble Limited Partnership. The deposit is on state land.

The Alaska Peninsula Corp., which owns surface land rights in the Bristol Bay watershed, including next to the Pebble deposit, is also a plaintiff.

Critics fear that EPA, which concluded that large-scale mining in the watershed posed significant risks to salmon, could veto the project before mine plans are finalized or permits are sought.

The lawsuit claims EPA exceeded its authority by initiating a process that could result in development of the project being restricted or prohibited.