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EPA extends timeline for next step in proposal to limit mining in Bristol Bay region

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JUNEAU, Alaska — The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency will take more time to review comments on a proposal that would restrict large-scale mining near the headwaters of a world-premier salmon fishery.

The decision could have implications for the proposed Pebble Mine. A lawsuit seeking to stop EPA from vetoing the project before permits are obtained is pending.

EPA received more than 155,000 written comments and expects to receive thousands more before the public comment period ends Friday. EPA also heard from hundreds of people in hearings.

Under regulations, EPA's regional administrator is to withdraw the proposal or advance a recommendation to headquarters within 30 days of public hearings ending, but not before the comment period closes. Hearings ended Aug. 15.

EPA is extending the timeline for determining its next step to Feb. 4.

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