Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Deadline Approaching to Comment on Bristol Bay Draft Watershed Assessment

With a peer review panel set to meet Aug. 7-9 in Anchorage to discuss a draft watershed assessment on large-scale mining in Southwest Alaska, the Environmental Protection Agency is receiving plenty of public comment.

Through July 12, the EPA said the agency received some 39,500 public comments.
Comments are being accepted through July 23.

The public is invited to observe the panel deliberations in Anchorage on the first two days, Aug. 7-8, and to make oral comments to the peer review panel on Aug. 7. Anyone planning to comment or simply come to observe these sessions must register online by July 23.

Proponents of the massive copper, gold and molybdenum Pebble Mine at the headwaters of the Bristol Bay watershed had urged the EPA to extend the deadline for comments, saying that there had been enough time given for people to read it and submit comments.

Opponents of the mine, however, praised the EPA for its decision to stay on track with the 60-day pubic comment period.

Commercial Fishermen for Bristol Bay, a nationwide coalition of nearly 100 fishing industry organizations and support businesses representing thousands of commercial fishermen, has issued a statement of support for the EPA.

The Pebble Limited Partnership, which hopes to submit permit applications to build the mine later this year, issued a statement July 16 urging those involved in resource development in Alaska to object to the draft watershed assessment, which it labeled “this poorly crafted document.” The partnership has also criticized the document as rushed, inaccurate and speculative in nature.”

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