By Shoren Brown
Bristol Bay Campaign Director
This week the EPA is convening its peer review panel of science experts to shape and finalize its draft Watershed Assessment of Bristol Bay. The 12 scientists will meet over three days, including two days of public meetings that will incorporate testimony from other scientists and members of the public. The peer review follows a 60-day comment period that included over 208,000 comments, with 96% of submissions supporting EPA action to protect Bristol Bay.
Local tribes, the Bristol Bay Native Corporation, 700 sportsman groups, over 600 businesses, 77 commercial fishing groups, and the National Council of Churches have praised the EPA for holding a thorough, open science process. Meanwhile, beleaguered Northern Dynasty, hit with declining share prices and investor qualms about permitting Pebble, issued a 635-page criticism of the EPA’s 338-page watershed assessment. Northern Dynasty said the EPA is “grossly overstepping its authority,” and called the Watershed report, “seriously flawed, and not grounded in sound scientific analysis.”
Frontline continues its online reporting about Bristol Bay, posting features about Northern Dynasty firing back at the EPA, and on the likelihood of dam failures at the future mine site.
Sportsmen are questioning why some House members who claim to advocate their interests are pushing to open up oil drilling in some of the nation’s most sensitive fishing areas, including Bristol Bay, in an article by Field and Stream.
And, through an innovative program run by seafood processor Peter Pan, Dillingham school children enjoy healthy salmon lunches courtesy of donations by fishermen.