"Ruling Clouds EPA Pebble Veto, but Mine Remains Unlikely"

"The EPA will likely need to revise its rationale for protecting Alaska’s Bristol Bay from the proposed Pebble Mine following the Supreme Court’s June ruling in a pivotal Clean Water Act case, but the mine is still unlikely to proceed, legal experts say.

The Environmental Protection Agency’s pollution restrictions for Bristol Bay announced last year and finalized in January will mostly withstand the court’s ruling in Sackett v. EPA, focusing on protections for waters of the US, or WOTUS, said Lee Forsgren, senior counsel at HBW Resources who served as EPA deputy assistant administrator for water during the Trump administration.

The EPA can still veto the mine based on Section 404 of the Clean Water Act, but they’re “going to have to redo the factual basis, going to have to go back to square one,” and veto the mine based on waters that are now under federal jurisdiction after Sackett, Forsgren said.

“Is it going to have a practical impact? No,” he said."

Bobby Magill reports for Bloomberg Environment June 21, 2023.

Source: Bloomberg Environment, 06/22/2023