Preliminary Injunction Halts EPA Process At Northern Dynasty's Pebble Mine
Northern Dynasty Minerals' Pebble mine in Alaska has run into its fair share of roadblocks, but the company recorded a major victory today when the Pebble Partnership was granted a preliminary injunction to stop the EPA's efforts to block development of the mine.
It's no secret that Northern Dynasty Minerals (TSX:NDM) has been having a tough time moving forward with its Pebble project in Alaska. The Pebble mine has run into its fair share of roadblocks, mostly put up by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), but Northern Dynasty recorded a victory today when the Pebble Partnership, wholly owned by Northern Dynasty, was granted a preliminary injunction against the EPA. The injunction will stop the EPA from taking further action to stop the development of the Pebble mine. As Pebble Partnership CEO Tim Collier is quoted as saying in Tuesday's release from Northern Dynasty, "[s]pecifically, the court has granted a Preliminary Injunction that blocks EPA from taking any further steps in the 404c regulatory process it has initiated at Pebble before Judge Holland is able to issue a final decision on the merits of our FACA case." Judge H. Russell Holland of the US Federal District Court for Alaska granted the preliminary injunction, and is currently presiding over the Pebble Partnership's litigation against the EPA. Procedural battles The EPA initiated the process earlier this year, using its 404(c) authority under the US Clean Water Act to obstruct the mine by preemptively blocking its permit approval. The agency took the action to protect the world's largest sockeye salmon fishery, which is located in Bristol Bay, Alaska, near the Pebble project. EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy has said that the mine "would likely have significant and irreversible negative impacts on the Bristol Bay watershed and its abundant salmon fisheries." According to the EPA's website, 404(c) has been used very sparingly, typically when "major projects with significant impacts on some of America's most ecologically valuable waters" are involved.