Fisheries and aquatic ecology scientist Carol Ann Woody continues to be targeted by Pebble Limited Partnership (Pebble) as part of their desperate attempt to stop the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) from protecting Bristol Bay. They served yet another invasive subpoena on Dr. Woody earlier this spring. Dr. Woody received a similar subpoena from Pebble last year. Pebble basically wants everything Dr. Woody has ever written about the proposed Pebble Mine and Bristol Bay. Trustees for Alaska filed a motion last month to get the subpoena tossed out.
This is just the latest effort by Pebble to harass those opposed to their proposed mine. Last November a federal judge threw out several similar subpoenas issued to private citizens, like Dr. Woody, because the requests were too broad, entirely unreasonable, and asked for irrelevant information. More importantly, the court found the Pebble was trying to obtain communications from opponents of the Pebble Mine that are protected by the First Amendment. Apparently, Pebble wasn’t listening because they issued a dozen subpoenas—again—to some of the same Pebble opponents, including Dr. Woody, seeking similar information.
In 2014, EPA issued a decision proposing to use Section 404(c) of the Clean Water Act to protect the world class Bristol Bay watershed from the proposed Pebble Mine. If built, the Pebble Mine would be the largest metallic sulfide mine in North America, located in the home of the world’s largest salmon fishery. EPA’s Proposed Determination favored protecting salmon by recommending significant restrictions on large-scale mining. Unhappy with this potential result, Pebble filed a Federal Advisory Committee Act (FACA) lawsuit against the EPA in a last-ditch effort to stop EPA from limiting mining activities in Bristol Bay. Pebble has complained the years-long public process that EPA undertook to reach its preliminary decision is unfair and biased.
Dr. Woody is a scientist who commented extensively on EPA’s Bristol Bay Watershed Assessment during public review periods. She also provided scientific expertise and assistance to others working to protect Bristol Bay, including Alaska Native Tribes, tribal organizations, commercial and sport fishermen, conservation organizations, and hunting and fishing organizations.
That Pebble wants Dr. Woody’s correspondence, scientific analyses, documents, and notes that discuss her work opposing the Pebble Mine is not only invasive, but violates her constitutional rights to Free Speech. Pebble is using subpoenas to continue their long campaign to discredit and intimidate people working to protect Bristol Bay and its world class fishery that feeds the world.