First hearing held yesterday in a US federal court of a legal action by various environmental groups (including the Sierra Club) to stop expansion at a large open cast copper mine on the grounds of air pollution.
The groups believe expansion is a violation of the US federal Clean Air Act, calling into question the interpretation of the Utah State Implementation Plan or SIP. The SIP is a complex plan of control regulations and emissions limits agreed upon by the federal US Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) and Utah’s Division of Air Quality (DAQ) (the applicable state government department for air quality control).
U.S. District Judge Robert Shelby did not make a ruling on the case. He said he would seek advisement.
Here is The Republic, Columbus, Indiana news article that gives detail.
Here is the information posted by the mining company about this.
Update (18 July 2014): The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Region 10 is issuing a proposal to protect one of the world’s most valuable salmon fisheries, in Bristol Bay, Alaska, from the risks posed by large-scale mining at the Pebble deposit.
EPA Region 10 is seeking public comment on its proposal from July 21 to September 19, 2014, and will hold public meetings in Alaska from August 12-15.
In February 2014, EPA announced it was initiating a process under the Clean Water Act to protect the Bristol Bay fisheries from mining of the Pebble deposit. The announcement followed a multiyear scientific study examining the impacts of large-scale copper mining in the Bristol Bay watershed.
EPA Region 10’s proposal to protect the Bristol Bay watershed outlines restrictions that would protect waters that support salmon in and near the Pebble deposit. These restrictions apply to impacts associated with large-scale mining of the Pebble deposit. No other lands or development are subject to the restrictions.
The Clean Water Act generally requires a Section 404 permit from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers before any person places dredged or fill material into streams, wetlands, lakes and ponds. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers authorizes thousands of permits every year, and EPA works with the Corps and developers to resolve environmental concerns so projects can move forward. Under Section 404(c), EPA is authorized to prohibit or restrict fill activities if a project would have unacceptable adverse effects on fishery areas.
Further detail on the July 2014 EPA proposal is here.
Here is information reported on contrary legal action.
AngloAmerican Press Release pulling out of the Pebble Mine project is here.
USEPA Draft Environmental Assessment (EA) of the Bristol Bay Area is here.
This is The Guardian News Article.