"Coalition Sues To Block Pebble Mine Permits"

"State regulators violated the Alaska Constitution when they approved exploration permits for the proposed Pebble copper and gold mine without allowing the public to weigh in first, according to a civil lawsuit filed Wednesday.

The suit was filed in Anchorage Superior Court by a coalition of eight Bristol Bay Native village corporations, former Alaska first lady Bella Hammond, state constitutional convention delegate Victor Fischer and several residents of Southwest Alaska villages.

The plaintiffs say a judge should throw out the exploration and temporary water-use permits for Pebble, a massive and controversial prospect in Southwest Alaska. They also want the judge to invalidate the state's permitting system for hard-rock mining exploration and block state regulators from issuing new permits for Pebble until the Legislature adopts a new permit system for mineral exploration.

The plaintiffs asked the court to halt exploration at Pebble until a judge makes a final ruling in the suit.

A state regulator on Wednesday said that contrary to the lawsuit's claims, the state is not required to gather public comments before granting permits for mineral exploration and water usage."

Elizabeth Bluemink reports for the Anchorage Daily News July 29, 2009.

See Also:

"Alaska Natives try to halt proposed Pebble Mine" (Los Angeles Times)

Source: Anchorage Daily News, 07/31/2009