Two University of Alaska professors say that subpoenas from Pebble Limited Partnership seeking evidence in its lawsuit against a federal agency are wasting university time and money, and are a diversion from the science and research they should be pursuing.

Pebble's prolonged effort to get at their records sends a message to stay away from anything that might be controversial, the professors say in new court filings. The push threatens their First Amendment right to study what they wish, the university says.

Work on the proposed Pebble gold and copper mine has moved from the Bristol Bay region to U.S. District Court in Anchorage, where lawyers from Pebble are challenging an Environmental Protection Agency assessment that found a mega-mine would be destructive to the bay's world-class wild sockeye salmon runs.

Pebble is looking for evidence that EPA was too chummy with mine opponents and illegally manipulated the scientific review in violation of a federal law requiring a transparent public process.

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