A federal agency is pushing back in a court fight over the stalled Pebble mine, suggesting that the project’s troubles stem from falling gold and copper prices, not government actions.

With development on hold, Pebble Limited Partnership’s effort has shifted from field work to U.S. District Court in Anchorage, where Pebble at last count has nine lawyers trying to erase years of review by the Environmental Protection Agency.

The EPA says it has turned over more than 100,000 pages of records to Pebble through the court process where each side must provide relevant documents to the other. Government lawyers are reviewing additional records subpoenaed by Pebble from the former EPA scientist who is central to the case, Phillip North. Both sides are holding onto records that the other side wants.

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