Supreme Court to hear Alaska mine case

Conservationists favor more stringent air pollution standards


Mike LeVine, Earthjustice attorney, 907-587-2751

Attorneys representing Environmental Defense, The National Parks Conservation Association, The Northern Alaska Environmental Center and The Alaska Community Action on Toxics, filed documents with the US Supreme Court today supporting EPA efforts to assure minimum air pollution at a mine in Northwest Alaska. The friend of the court brief filed by the environmental groups supports a federal appeals court ruling that found the US EPA was correct when it required more stringent air pollution control technology at the Red Dog Mine than had been required in the permit issued by the State of Alaska.

The state initially required the mine operators to use certain state of the art technology to minimize pollution from its power generators but later yielded to complaints from the mine and weakened the permit to allow technology that is only about one third as clean as the technology it had originally required. The state had previously found that the cleaner technology was technically feasible, environmentally preferable, and economically affordable.

“The state has tried to sacrifice clean air in order to satisfy the mine operators,” said Mike LeVine of Earthjustice. “We need national oversight of these state decisions to prevent Alaska from harming its parks, resources, and residents in order to save a large mining company a small amount of money.”

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