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Pebble Ltd. Partnership v. Environmental Protection Agency

ELR Citation: 45 ELR 20218
Nos. 3:14-cv-0171, (D. Alaska, 11/18/2015) (Holland, J.)

A district court held that the developers of the proposed Pebble copper and gold mine in Alaska who filed a Federal Advisory Committee Act (FACA) claim against EPA following the Agency's initiation of CWA §404(c) proceedings may not seek discovery from non-parties that appeared before EPA in connection with the §404(c) proceedings. The developers sought to discover a broad range of communications between EPA and various groups that were interested in the Agency's §404(c) proceedings in order to shed light on its FACA allegations. But the great bulk of non-party discovery demands is irrelevant to the developers' claim. In addition, discovery from EPA will be more convenient, less burdensome, and less expensive than discovery from the nonparties. And the information the developers seek from the nonparties will surely be cumulative and duplicative of the discovery they seek from EPA. The court, therefore, quashed the nonparty document production and deposition requests.