WASHINGTON — An Alaska federal court judge is considering postponing this month's arguments over Pebble mine after discovering that the Environmental Protection Agency's inspector general is investigating the agency's efforts to halt the project.

In an order issued Monday afternoon in Anchorage, U.S. District Judge Russel Holland cited information from a Sunday Alaska Dispatch News story, "that there is an Inspector General's investigation of matters having to do with the proceedings that are the subject of this litigation."

Holland, a semi-retired Reagan appointee, granted an injunction late last year that temporarily halted the EPA's efforts to preemptively "veto" a federal water discharge permit for the proposed mine. The agency embarked on that effort early in 2014 and proposed strict limits last summer, saying it had determined that large-scale mining posed an environmental danger to the Bristol Bay watershed and its rich salmon rivers.

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