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Further delay on Bristol Bay mining decision

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A decision on a mining development in Alaska’s Bristol Bay has been further delayed.

The Environmental Protection Agency’s final decision on the contentious Pebble Mine in Bristol Bay, Alaska, has been further delayed following an injunction issued by a federal judge on behalf of the developer, Pebble LP.

The move effectively stops the EPA’s process to veto the Pebble project.

A decision was scheduled for February 2015, but the preliminary injunction was granted because Pebble LP is seeking to obtain communication between the EPA, scientists and environmental groups to substantiate its claim that the EPA’s decision was based on science that is biased against Pebble Mine.

The EPA’s final report, published earlier this year, concluded that large-scale mining in Alaska’s Bristol Bay watershed would result in the loss of 90 miles of salmon spawning waters, devastating the Bay’s salmon and trout populations.

The Bay supports an estimated $500m commercial and sport fishery, but is rich in deposits of gold, copper and molybdenum.

The report appeared to establish a clear scientific argument against large-scale mining in the region, the most positive step yet in the ten-year campaign to protect the world’s biggest wild salmon stronghold. But the injunction makes it clear that Pebble LP has not given up the fight to mine the area.

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