Alaskan Rainbow Trout
A Bristol Bay rainbow trout, complete with mouse.

According to Trout Unlimited's Alaskan Director Tim Bristol, the Pebble Limited Partnership's (PLP) response to the EPA's recent announcement that it would initiate further investigative action under Clean Water Act section 404(c) was "predictable" and "desperate." The response was issued in the form of a document circulated to PLP investors and also published on the group's website.

The PLP, which has long been seeking to build the much-maligned Pebble Mine in the Bristol Bay region of Alaska, has suffered numerous setbacks recently as two of the group's largest investors -- mining giants Rio Tinto (NYSE:RIO) and Anglo American (LON:AAL) -- have walked alway from the project, dissolving their investments in the partnership, citing the project's grim future. Northern Dynasty Minerals (NYSE:NAK), the project's only significant remaining stakeholder, has elected to stay the course, hoping to move the project forward in spite of steadily mounting opposition.

Many will consider Bristol's harsh critique of the PLP response to be spot on. The document circulated by the partnership reads more like a childish rant than an informative, carefully worded letter to investors. In it, the PLP accuses EPA employees of "secretly plott[ing] with environmental activists," scheming to sabotage US financial markets and puts forth other such unsubstantiated, unethical and inaccurate claims.

The response accuses the EPA of "misuse of U.S. government funds to create a flawed, junk science laden report, called the Bristol Bay Assessment, designed to negatively influence government, financial markets, and public policy."

According to Bristol, the PLP response is "nothing more than a rehash of the tired, empty and dishonest rhetoric the company has used in Alaska for the last decade."

Bristol continued, noting that “the EPA initiated the 404(c) process in the face of overwhelming and peer-reviewed scientific evidence – evidence based on PLP’s own plans and documents—and in response to a request for action from Alaskans faced with a very real threat to their jobs, livelihoods and salmon-based culture,” Bristol said. “The EPA has the legal, policy and scientific backing to protect Bristol Bay and its economy from the Pebble Mine. It also has the backing of 80 percent of Bristol Bay residents, a majority of Alaskans and vast numbers of Americans from across the political spectrum who have spoken out on this issue.