EPA to weigh withdrawal of proposed mining restrictions

    The area near the proposed Pebble Mine.

    Juneau, Alaska (AP) - The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency plans to resume considering whether to withdraw proposed Obama-era restrictions on mining activity in the Bristol Bay region.

    General Counsel Matthew Leopold has directed regional administrator Chris Hladick to weigh the issue. Leopold, in a memo, writes a decision is needed to provide clarity.

    United Tribes of Bristol Bay called EPA's actions political.

    EPA, as part of a 2017 settlement with the developer of the proposed Pebble Mine, agreed to initiate a process for withdrawing the proposed restrictions.

    But in January 2018, EPA suspended that effort, saying it wanted more information on how the project could impact fish. EPA has said Bristol Bay produces about half the world's sockeye salmon.

    The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is evaluating a permit application by the developer.

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