FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 5, 2012
Contact: Carmell Shade, Communications Specialist
BBNC commends EPA decision not to extend deadline
Bristol Bay Native Corporation (BBNC) is pleased to learn that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has decided not to extend the public comment period for the Draft Bristol Bay Watershed Assessment past the current deadline of July 23.
“We commend the EPA for recognizing that further delay would not be beneficial,” said BBNC President and CEO Jason Metrokin. “The overwhelming participation at the public meetings held last month showed that those who would be most affected by the decision – the people of Bristol Bay – had ample time to comment on the assessment and be a part of this important process.”
The EPA has held numerous public meetings to receive comments since the draft assessment was released May 18. These meetings occurred in six Bristol Bay communities, as well as in Anchorage and Seattle. Nearly 2,300 people attended the meetings and provided more than 450 oral testimonies to the agency. More than 80 percent of these testimonies supported the watershed assessment and the current timeline. Of the testimonies provided at Bristol Bay hearings, more than 90 percent supported the watershed assessment and the current timeline.
The 60-day comment period equals or exceeds the review and comment periods provided by the State of Alaska in administrative processes related to mining in Alaska and land planning in the Bristol Bay region.
The EPA will provide another opportunity for public comment during a peer review meeting for the draft watershed assessment in Anchorage on August 7. The 12-member peer review panel will accept comments on several “charge” questions relating to the science used in the assessment. For more information and to read the charge questions, visit https://federalregister.gov/a/2012-13431.
The scientific work reflected in the assessment provides critical information to enable timely decisions about large-scale mining in the Bristol Bay region. BBNC encourages the public to review the draft watershed assessment and provide comment to the EPA. For information on how to submit comments, visit www.epa.gov/region10/bristolbay.
About BBNC:BBNC is one of 13 Alaska Native Regional Corporations formed under the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act of 1971. The corporation has over 9,000 Eskimo, Aleut, and Athabascan shareholders with ancestral ties to the Bristol Bay region. BBNC supports responsible resource development, defined as development that is fiscally, environmentally and socially sustainable, serving the long-term interests of our people, our region, and our businesses. For more information, visit www.bbnc.net.