Federal Judge H. Russel Holland has quashed a motion in which the Pebble Limited Partnership sought to obtain testimony and documents from third party interests in its lawsuit against the Environmental Protection Agency.
The decision handed down this past week had sought testimony and documents from the Alaska Conservation Foundation and Bristol Bay Regional Seafood Development Association through former employees Sam Snyder and Bob Waldrop respectively. Josh Levy of the Washington DC law firm of Cunningham Levy Muse LLC, who represented Waldrop, the BBRSDA, and others, called Holland’s ruling “a great day for our clients. For months while these subpoenas were hanging in the balance like a cloud over my clients, they were chilled from exercising their rights under the First Amendment to associate freely with other Americans and speak freely about Bristol Bay,” Levy said. “I’m delighted that this cloud has been lifted.”
Mike Heatwole, a spokesman for Pebble in Anchorage, said that the mining entity has been assertive in seeking information to reveal what it contends are the facts about EPA actions against Pebble, and would continue to seek documents supporting its claims.
The Pebble Limited Partnership, a subsidiary of Hunter Dickinson Inc., a diversified global mining group in Vancouver, Canada, has sought the information from Snyder and Waldrop to support their claim that the EPA made a final decision to conduct Section 404 (c) proceedings to preclude Pebble from developing the copper, gold and molybdenum prospect near the headwaters of the Bristol Bay watershed in violation of the Federal Advisory Committee Act.
FACA puts special emphasis on open meetings.
Holland found in his decision that the Alaska Conservation Foundation, BBRSDA and others have the right to communicate with one another on matters of joint interest, and if they wish to make joint presentations to the EPA and that their doing so does not violate FACA. Holland said that such communications would all be discoverable by the plaintiff from the EPA.