The Maryland Senate Agrees With Gov. Moore’s Plan For A Statewide Center To Stop Gun Crime


From the air, on September 27, 2011, you can see Kaskanak Creek in the Kvichak watershed of Bristol Bay. The Environmental Protection Agency said that the Pebble mine could be dangerous to the river and other places when it decided not to give it a permit. However, the Dunleavy administration and Northern Dynasty Minerals Ltd. have gone to court to try to change that ruling. (The Environmental Protection Agency sent this picture)

The Alaskan government says the federal government owes them more than $700 billion in pay for what the EPA did in 2023 to stop the huge and controversial Pebble Mine from being built in Southwest Alaska. They are suing the federal government in a federal court to get this money back.

The case, which was filed Thursday in the U.S. Court of Federal Claims in the District of Columbia, is one of many that the state and the mine’s potential developer have taken to try to bring the huge copper and gold project back to life.

The state and company are suing because the Dunleavy government tried and failed to have the U.S. Supreme Court decide the case directly. In a legal move that isn’t often seen, the Dunleavy government asked the Supreme Court to decide the case without first letting lower courts weigh in. In January, the Supreme Court said it would not hear the case.

The state used an estimate for 100 years of production to back up the $700 billion number in its lawsuit, which it sent to the U.S. Court of Federal Claims on Thursday. It also said that Alaska’s economic future depended on Pebble’s growth.

“In recent years, the Pebble Deposit was the most important land-use project for the state.” The complaint said, “It would have brought in billions of dollars for the State and created tens of thousands of jobs for Alaskans, many of whom live in rural areas with few job opportunities.”

There were two cases with the same goals. They were filed by Northern Dynasty Minerals Ltd. in Vancouver and the Pebble Limited Partnership, of which Northern Dynasty is the sole owner.

One, which was filed Thursday in the U.S. Court of Federal Claims, asks for money because they missed a chance to make Pebble. It doesn’t ask for a specific amount of money as the state case did, but it does say that the Pebble Limited Partnership has spent more than $1 billion to buy the land and work on developing the mine.

The second one, which was filed Friday in U.S. District Court in Anchorage, tries to overturn the EPA’s decision in January 2023 to use a rarely used part of the Clean Water Act to stop the Pebble project from getting permits.

A statement from the Department of Law on Friday said that the state plans to challenge the EPA’s move in U.S. District Court.

Speaking about the two lawsuits, Northern Dynasty’s CEO said that the substantive claim against the EPA move is the more important legal effort.

The Bristol Bay Native Corp. building in Anchorage has statues of salmon all around the outside. This picture was taken on February 21, 2024. Bristol Bay Native Corp. has been against the Pebble mine because the area depends on fish. (Alaska Beacon photo by Yereth Rosen)

According to Northern Dynasty President and CEO Ron Thiessen, their top goal is to move forward with the District Federal Court Complaint. This is because overturning the illegal veto is a big step toward getting the permit to build the proposed mine. “The takings complaint tells the US Government that we will be asking for very large amounts of money if they keep illegally blocking the legal permitting process.” It’s kind of like a protection policy; it makes sure that we can use this case if we decide to go further with it.

People who are against the Pebble Mine project said that the state and company’s court actions were wrong. They said that the mine project was a terrible threat to the Bristol Bay habitat that important commercial, sport, and subsistence salmon harvests depend on.

In an email, Tim Bristol, executive director of the advocacy group SalmonState, said, “The State’s legal filing is unhinged and sounds more like conspiracy theories from a dark corner of the internet than a real legal argument.

“The Governor and his appointees are saying that Federal laws and rules don’t apply to Alaska. When the law shows that they are wrong, they should get a lot of money from American taxpayers.” This is the worst kind of political theater and pure legal fantasy. The truth is Bristol Bay’s wild salmon runs, the people who depend on them, and the money and jobs they bring in. Bristol said, “It’s very disappointing that the Governor and his people have chosen to refuse to use one of Alaska’s best renewable resources because of a crazy idea based on ideology.”

Jason Metrokin, president and CEO of the Bristol Bay Native Corp., also said that the legal moves were wrong. He said in a statement that the EPA’s measures “are based on science and are supported by most Alaskans.”

“It is simply a mistake for [Northern Dynasty Minerals] and the State of Alaska to continue to pursue the development of what could be North America’s largest open pit mine near the headwaters of Bristol Bay’s incredible salmon fisheries,” Metrokin said. He also said that commercial fishing creates over 15,000 jobs and $2 billion in economic activity every year.

Delores Larson, interim head of United Tribes of Bristol Bay, said in a separate statement that she thought the new legal attempts would fail. “We are sure that the courts will uphold the EPA’s protections and turn down Pebble’s attempts to bring back a mining project that Alaskans don’t want and that science has shown over and over again would be terrible for the waters that support our way of life and salmon habitat.” To protect Bristol Bay for good, our leaders need to step up and act. Our future depends on it.

When asked about the state’s $700 billion claim at a news conference on Friday, Dunleavy wouldn’t say how likely it was to be accepted.

“I don’t know.” Do you agree? “There’s an election coming up in November that could change the way things are in this country,” he said.

He admitted that a lot of Alaskans are against Pebble, but he didn’t agree with them. He said, “I’m not going to stop saying that the proper development of any mining claim in the state of Alaska is a bad thing.” This included Pebble.

Leave A Reply

Your email address will not be published.