Tribes, Commercial and Sport Fishers, Conservation Groups Slam the State of Alaska’s SCOTUS Lawsuit Against EPA’s Decision to Veto Pebble Mine


From Bristol Bay Defense Fund:

Today, in a radical “hail Mary,” legal maneuver, the State of Alaska filed a lawsuit before the U.S. Supreme Court challenging the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) final determination for the Pebble deposit. In doing so, the State ignores long established procedural rules regarding challenges of agency actions.

Earlier this year, EPA issued 404(c) Clean Water Act protections to end the threat of the Pebble Mine due to the adverse risks it poses to Bristol Bay’s waters and the surrounding ecosystem.
In response the Bristol Bay Defense Fund issued the following statement:

“In filing this lawsuit with the U.S. Supreme Court, the State of Alaska has completely disregarded the available avenues of judicial review to challenge a federal agency action by appeal through the federal courts. The lawsuit is legally and factually unjustified –and is little more than a publicity stunt filed on behalf of an unscrupulous mining company, Pebble Limited Partnership, that has repeatedly misrepresented its record and misled regulators, its investors, Congress, and the general public. The EPA’s authority to protect Bristol Bay under the Clean Water Act stands on an extensive and robust scientific and technical record that spans two decades and three presidential administrations. Alaskans and people across the country overwhelmingly support EPA’s action to protect Bristol Bay, and do not support the Pebble Mine. We will continue to defend Bristol Bay against the threat of the Pebble Mine and the State’s legal antics as long as necessary to ensure that the region, Tribes, salmon, and clean water resources are protected forever.”

Bristol Bay is home to one of the last thriving salmon fisheries in the state of Alaska that sustains the way of life for Indigenous people who have called the region home for thousands of years and are among the last intact and sustainable salmon-based cultures remaining in the world and supports a $2.2 billion dollar annual commercial fishery.

The Bristol Bay Defense Fund is a broad coalition of local, state and national groups representing Bristol Bay Tribes, commercial fishermen, businesses, and conservation nonprofit organizations including the United Tribes of Bristol Bay, Commercial Fishermen for Bristol Bay,  Businesses for Bristol Bay,  SalmonState, Wild Salmon Center, Native American Rights Fund, and Natural Resources Defense Council.

I also wanted to highlight this additional quote from Alannah Hurley of United Tribes of Bristol Bay:

“Today’s legal filing from the Governor is a slap in the face to Bristol Bay. Contrary to his false narrative, it was our Tribes, Alaska’s first people, who requested this action.  We did not want to go to the federal government for help. We had to because politicians like Governor Dunlevy slammed the door in our face and put the interests of a Canadian Mining company above our rural villages and our world class salmon fishery,” said Alannah Hurley executive director of the United Tribes of Bristol Bay. “We worked over three federal administrations, both Democrat and Republican, to achieve Clean Water Act protections for Bristol Bay.  EPA’s final action is grounded in sound science and decades of legal precedent.  Like the Pebble Mine itself, this effort by the Governor will fail.  This year was the first fishing season our people could enjoy without the threat of Pebble hanging over our heads. That the Governor sought not only to circumvent the will of Alaskans, but to ignore legal process by filing an action directly in the Supreme Court demonstrates whose interests he really represents. Nevertheless, our Tribes will continue to defend EPA’s Clean Water Act protections. We will use every tool at our disposal to protect our waters, our salmon, and our people.”


Leave A Reply