By Chris Klint
Channel 2 News
3:09 PM AKST, February 5, 2013
The Environmental Protection Agency says it is revising its assessment of large-scale mining activities near Bristol Bay -- including the proposed Pebble Mine -- in response to comments from peer reviewers as well as the general public.
In a Tuesday statement, the EPA says it received more than 230,000 public comments on its draft assessment of how major mining may affect the Kvichak and Nushagak river systems’ water quality and salmon ecosystems.
“EPA is using the comments and suggestions from the public and the 12 peer reviewers to revise the assessment,” agency officials wrote. “EPA is making arrangements for the 12 original Bristol Bay Watershed Assessment peer reviewers to evaluate the revisions the agency has made to the draft Bristol Bay Assessment. EPA’s goal is to determine if these revisions reflect the peer reviewers’ feedback, which EPA received in fall of 2012.”
Many people at a June public-comment meeting the EPA held in Anchorage complained about the federal agency itself rather than its assessment, citing the EPA's choice to hold the first of several such meetings in Seattle and suggesting that people needed more time to digest the document.
Part of the revision process will include a new public-comment period, the duration of which wasn’t immediately stated by the agency. The peer review follow-up is slated for spring of this year, with the EPA planning to finalize its assessment later in 2013.
This is a developing story. Please check KTUU.com and the Channel 2 newscasts for updates.
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