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Mine project asks to subpoena former EPA official in lawsuit against agency

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JUNEAU, Alaska — The group behind the Pebble Mine project is asking for a former Environmental Protection Agency official to be subpoenaed as part of their lawsuit against the agency.

The Pebble Limited Partnership alleged that EPA violated a federal law by establishing and working with groups of mine critics that essentially acted as advisory committees, but didn't comply with requirements of that law, such as noticing meetings.

The EPA's lawyers have said in court documents that Pebble had "countless contacts" with the agency and the lawsuit is a bid to undermine the agency's proposal to protect parts of the Bristol Bay region from development.

A motion filed Monday asked a federal court to subpoena a former EPA employee who worked with Federal Advisory Committees on use of the Clean Water Act to prevent the development of the mine, the Alaska Dispatch news reported (http://bit.ly/1NKraSG).

The former employee, Phillip North, is believed to live in Australia. The motion claims that records of North's work are no longer available so he'll have to testify in person.

A Department of Justice spokeswoman declined to comment on the motion. The department is representing the EPA in the lawsuit.


Information from: Alaska Dispatch News, http://www.adn.com

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