The Latest: Alaska lawmaker predicts strong mine opposition

The Latest on a settlement involving the proposed Pebble Mine in Alaska (all times local):

5 p.m.

The speaker of the Alaska House said he believes there will be a rising up of opposition if a mine proposed near the headwaters of a world-class Alaska salmon fishery advances.

Rep. Bryce Edgmon represents the Bristol Bay region, where the Pebble Mine project is located.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Pebble Limited Partnership disclosed a settlement Friday clearing a way for the company to seek permits.

Edgmon says most residents in the region oppose the project. He also says a large coalition around the country is watching the matter closely.

Tom Collier, CEO of the Pebble partnership, acknowledged there is strong objection to what people think Pebble will build. But he says once people see Pebble's proposal and the benefits it can bring there will be "a lot of heads turning."


12:40 p.m.

A spokeswoman for U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski says the Alaska Republican isn't willing to trade salmon for gold.

But Karina Petersen says Murkowski had concerns that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency might try to veto a proposed mine in Alaska's Bristol Bay region before it went through permitting.

The EPA and Pebble Limited Partnership disclosed a settlement Friday that clears the way for Pebble to seek permits for its proposed mine.

Petersen says Murkowski has supported a fair permitting process and urged Pebble to move into permitting expeditiously if it plans to proceed. Petersen says people then will have the details they need to make informed decisions.

She says if Pebble through that process cannot prove that it can safely build and operate the mine, it should not be built.


11:05 a.m.

The CEO of a Canadian-owned company pursuing a copper and gold mine near the headwaters of a world-class Alaska salmon fishery says he's excited the company will be able to seek permits for the proposed Pebble Mine.

Tom Collier said the settlement of his company's lawsuit against the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency represents a new start for the mine.

He says Pebble Limited Partnership hopes to initiate permitting this year for what he says will be a smaller mine. He declined to discuss specifics but thinks it will have more support.

Representatives of Alaska Native organizations and conservation groups on Friday reiterated their opposition to the mine.

As part of the settlement announced Friday, the EPA says it will begin a process to withdraw restrictions it proposed on development in the Bristol Bay region under President Obama.


5:50 a.m.

The Trump administration has settled a lawsuit over the proposed development of a massive gold and copper mine at the headwaters of one of Alaska's premier salmon fisheries.

The Environmental Protection Agency settled the long-running case Friday with the Pebble Limited Partnership.

Under the agreement, the Canadian-owned company can seek a federal permit to build its mine near Bristol Bay.

Pebble sued in federal court over what it claimed was EPA's collusion with mine opponents to block the project, which a study shows could pose significant risk to salmon populations in the bay. A review by EPA's inspector general found no evidence the agency acted improperly.

EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt said Friday the settlement provides Pebble with a fair process for moving forward with the project while avoiding time-consuming litigation.