Trout Unlimited intervenes in lawsuit to uphold Clean Water Act in Bristol Bay Lawsuit filed by Pebble Partnership threatens safeguards for the headwaters of Bristol Bay


ANCHORAGE, AK – Trout Unlimited, represented pro bono by Sheppard Mullin, intervened in a lawsuit filed by Pebble Partnership against the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) seeking to overturn the Clean Water Act 404(c) safeguards for the Bristol Bay headwaters.  

“As Trout Unlimited reenters the courtroom, it brings a legacy of legal triumphs and a commitment to safeguarding Bristol Bay’s natural resources for future generations,” said Chris Wood, president and CEO of Trout Unlimited. “We will not sit idly by while Pebble Partnership fights to destroy a large swath of the world’s most important salmon fishery. Our previous lawsuit was instrumental in getting Clean Water Act safeguards back on track and that same legal team is ready to take on this frivolous lawsuit.”  

“This lawsuit is another chapter in the Pebble Partnership’s ongoing efforts to circumvent science, the will of Alaskans, and common sense,” said Nelli Williams, Alaska director of Trout Unlimited. “The proposed Pebble mine is a bad idea today, just as it was decades ago when we started this fight. We will continue to stand with the people and businesses of Bristol Bay who depend on the region’s abundant fisheries and world-renowned recreation opportunities.  The lengths to which Pebble is dragging this out and uncertainty a lawsuit can cause are all the more reason we need permanent safeguards for the watershed.” 

Trout Unlimited’s intervention in this lawsuit builds on the organization’s history of strategic litigation to protect the region. In 2019, TU successfully challenged the EPA’s withdrawal of the EPA’s 404(c) proposed determination, making it possible for the EPA to finalize protections in January 2023 that are being challenged here. Additionally, TU submitted a “friend of the court” brief in response to the State of Alaska’s effort to overturn the EPA’s 404(c) final determination filed by the State of Alaska in U.S. Supreme Court, which the Court ultimately rejected.  

Trout Unlimited, the nation’s oldest and largest coldwater fisheries conservation organization, is dedicated to caring for and recovering America’s rivers and streams, so our children can experience the joy of wild and native trout and salmon. Across the country, TU brings to bear river restoration expertise, local, regional, and national grassroots organizing, durable partnerships, science-backed policy muscle, and legal firepower on behalf of trout and salmon fisheries, healthy waters and vibrant communities. In Alaska, we work with sportsmen and women to ensure the state’s trout and salmon resources remain healthy far into the future through our local chapters and staff across the state.  

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