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Public involvement was essential to ensure that we heard and understood the full range of perspectives on the assessment and the potential effects of mining in the Bristol Bay region.
Public and stakeholder meetings
EPA visited many Bristol Bay communities, including Ekwok, Dillingham, Kokhanok, New Stuyahok, Koliganek, Iliamna, Newhalen, Nondalton, Naknek, King Salmon, Igiugig, and Levelock. EPA met with representatives from Bristol Bay tribal governments and corporations, as well as representatives from the mine industry, commercial fishers, seafood processors, hunters and anglers, chefs and restaurant owners, jewelry companies, conservation organizations, members of the faith community, and elected officials from Alaska and other states.
Intergovernmental Technical Team
EPA met with an Intergovernmental Technical Team that provided input on the structure of the assessment and identified data sources. Participants included representatives from tribes, Alaska Department of Natural Resources, Alaska Department of Fish and Game, National Park Service, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and Bureau of Land Management.
EPA’s policy is to consult on a government-to-government basis with federally recognized tribal governments when EPA actions and decisions may affect tribal interests. Out of the 31 federally recognized tribes in the Bristol Bay region EPA invited to engage in tribal consultation, 20 tribes participated, including all 13 tribes with federally-recognized tribal governments in the Nushagak and Kvichak River watersheds.
Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act engagement
EPA engaged with Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (ANSCA) Village and Regional Corporations throughout the assessment. EPA representatives traveled to Alaska to share information and receive input. ANCSA Corporations met with EPA officials in Iliamna, King Salmon, Anchorage, Seattle, and Washington, DC.
EPA released two drafts of the assessment for public comment. Approximately 233,000 and 890,000 comments were submitted to the EPA docket during the 60-day public comment period for the May 2012 and April 2013 drafts of the assessment, respectively. EPA held eight public comment meetings in June 2012, in Dillingham, Naknek, New Stuyahok, Nondalton, Levelock, Igiugig, Anchorage, and Seattle. Approximately 2,000 people attended these meetings.
- Read public comments on the April 2013 Draft Assessment (links to regulations.gov)
- Read public comments on the May 2012 Draft Assessment (links to regulations.gov)
EPA is also preparing detailed responses for the public comments received on the assessment. Detailed response to comments documents pertaining to the public comments will be released soon.
In addition, the public was invited to nominate qualified scientists as potential peer reviewers and to provide oral comments and observe discussion among the peer reviewers during a peer review meeting in August 2012.
EPA has prepared detailed responses for the comments provided by 12 expert reviewers on the May 2012 and April 2013 drafts of the assessment.
- Read EPA's Peer Review Response to Comments