Federal regulators urged the 9th Circuit to throw out an appeal from a company whose pebble-mining project in Alaska it blocked.
Anchorage-based Pebble LP filed suit after receiving a letter in February 2014 that announced the Environmental Protection Agency’s plans to block its bid for a permit to mine a pebble deposit in the Bristol Bay watershed area.
Section 404 of the Clean Water Act gives the secretary of the Army the sole authority to issue the 404 permits that are mandatory for mine operations, but the EPA has veto power over specified disposal sites if the agency determines that proposed discharges will have an adverse effect.
Noting that it had yet to even apply for the permit, Pebble complained that the EPA overrode a nonexistent permit before the secretary of the Army had conducted a review of the project.
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