ANCHORAGE, Alaska (CN) — A federal judge said the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency can see records of a mining company's payments to consultants and contractors, but not the company's overall financial records.

U.S. District Judge Russell Holland's ruling on May 5 is the latest in a tit-for-tat over whether the EPA's actions to protect a key salmon fishery involved underhanded dealings with an outside group to stop Pebble LP's mining project.

This past November, Holland denied the mining company's request to compel opponents of a planned mine to turn over communications they had with the EPA about the project. Holland said Pebble was "pushing the envelope" by blanketing the nation with over 60 subpoenas to companies, organizations and individuals involved in EPA's use of the Clean Water Act to limit mining activity in Alaska's Bristol Bay watershed.

Pebble's lawyers said they needed the information to help make their case that the EPA's decision-making process was biased by improper interactions with anti-mining activists and therefore violated the Federal Advisory Committee Act.

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