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Pebble Ltd. Partnership v. Environmental Protection Agency

ELR Citation: 45 ELR 20108
Nos. 3:14-cv-0171-HRH, (D. Alaska, 06/04/2015) (Holland, J.)

A district court dismissed portions of a mining company's lawsuit against EPA alleging that the Agency violated the Federal Advisory Committee Act (FACA) during its review of the proposed Pebble Mine in Alaska. The company claimed that EPA formed three committees—the Anti-Mine Coalition, the Anti-Mine Scientists, and the Anti-Mine Assessment Team—in violation of FACA. The Act applies to advisory committees that were "established or utilized" by one or more agencies. Here, the company failed to state a plausible claim that EPA established the Anti-Mine Coalition and the Anti-Mine Scientists committees. But the company may go forward with their claims that EPA "utilized" these two groups. Likewise, at this stage of the litigation, it is plausible that the Anti-Mine Assessment Team was subject to FACA. Included in this "committee" were EPA contractors, who may be subject to FACA, as well as members of an Intergovernmental Technical Team, to which FACA might also apply.