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UPDATE: Judge dismisses suit seeking Bristol Bay Fishery protections

(KTUU)
Published: Apr. 17, 2020 at 9:30 PM AKDT
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UPDATE: Saturday, April 18, 2020

The Pebble Project released their own statement Saturday. Pebble CEO Tom Collier called the decision "a major victory for Pebble, the State of Alaska and the rule of law."

He went on further, saying "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."

ORIGINAL STORY:

A judge on Friday halted a group's pursuit of Bristol Bay protections, according to a release, months after the group sued the Environmental Protection Agency for withdrawal of proposed Clean Water Act protections in the region.

Judge Sharon Gleason told the group, known as the Bristol Bay Defense Alliance - which includes Bristol Bay organizations and others - that their lawsuit against the EPA had been dismissed. Gleason said that the EPA’s action is not one that can be challenged in court.

"Bristol Bay organizations are considering all options to protect Bristol Bay," a release from the BBDA states, "after today’s ruling to decline considering whether proposed protections for Bristol Bay were illegally withdrawn."

A release from Trout Unlimited, which filed a separate lawsuit that was later consolidated with the BBDA lawsuit, said the EPA arbitrarily withdrew safeguards for the region’s fishery and "ignored its own science and put the interests of a foreign mining company over the interests of Alaskans and the American public.”

Nelli Williams, Alaska program director of Trout Unlimited, said the group is "disappointed" the case wasn't allowed to proceed.

"Regardless," Williams said, "we remain committed to doing everything in our power to safeguard Bristol Bay."

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