[Federal Register Volume 77, Number 102 (Friday, May 25, 2012)]
[Notices]
[Pages 31353-31355]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2012-12808]


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ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY

[FRL-9678-3; Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-ORD-2012-0276]


An Assessment of Potential Mining Impacts on Salmon Ecosystems of 
Bristol Bay, AK

AGENCY: Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

ACTION: Notice of public comment period.

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SUMMARY: The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is announcing a 
public comment period for the draft document titled, ``An Assessment of 
Potential Mining Impacts on Salmon Ecosystems of Bristol Bay, Alaska'' 
(EPA-910-R-12-004a-d). The document was prepared by the EPA's Region 10 
(Pacific Northwest and Alaska), EPA's Office of Water, and EPA's Office 
of Research and Development. The EPA conducted this assessment to 
determine the significance of Bristol Bay's ecological resources and 
evaluate the potential impacts of large-scale mining on these 
resources. EPA will use the results of this assessment to inform the 
consideration of options consistent with its role under the Clean Water 
Act. The assessment is intended to provide a scientific and technical 
foundation for future decision making; EPA will not address use of its 
regulatory authority until the assessment becomes final and has made no 
judgment about whether and how to use that authority at this time.

DATES: The public comment period began Friday, May 18, 2012, and ends 
Monday, July 23, 2012. Technical comments should be in writing and must 
be received by EPA by Monday, July 23, 2012.

ADDRESSES: The draft ``An Assessment of Potential Mining Impacts on 
Salmon Ecosystems of Bristol Bay, Alaska'' is available primarily via 
the Internet on the EPA Region 10 Bristol Bay Web site at www.epa.gov/bristolbay as well as on the National Center for Environmental 
Assessment's Web site under the Recent Additions and the Data and 
Publications menus at www.epa.gov/ncea. A printed copy of the 
assessment will be placed at public locations in Bristol Bay and in 
Anchorage, AK. These locations are listed on the Region 10 Web site. A 
limited number of paper copies are available from the Information 
Management Team, NCEA; telephone: 703-347-8561; facsimile: 703-347-
8691. If you are requesting a paper copy, please provide your name, 
your mailing address, and the document title, ``An Assessment of 
Potential Mining Impacts on Salmon Ecosystems of Bristol Bay, Alaska.'' 
Please also indicate if a paper copy of the full set of appendices is 
needed.
    Comments on the report may be submitted electronically via 
www.regulations.gov, by email, by mail, by facsimile, or by hand 
delivery/courier. Please follow the detailed instructions provided in 
the SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION section of this notice.

[[Page 31354]]


FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: For information on the public comment 
period, contact the Office of Environmental Information Docket; 
telephone: 202-566-1752; facsimile: 202-566-1753; or email: 
ORD.Docket@epa.gov.
    For technical information concerning the report, contact Judy 
Smith; telephone: 503-326-6994; facsimile: 503-326-3399; or email: 
r10bristolbay@epa.gov.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

I. Information About the Project/Document

    The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) conducted this 
assessment to determine the significance of Bristol Bay's ecological 
resources and evaluate the potential impacts of large-scale mining on 
these resources. The EPA will use the results of this assessment to 
inform the consideration of options consistent with its role under the 
Clean Water Act. The assessment is intended to provide a scientific and 
technical foundation for future decision making. The Web site that 
describes the project is www.epa.gov/bristolbay. This draft document 
addresses potential impacts to water quality and the salmon fishery 
that may result from large-scale mining in the Nushagak and Kvichak 
watersheds of southwest Alaska.
    EPA is releasing this draft assessment for the purposes of public 
comment and peer review. This draft assessment is not final as 
described in EPA's information quality guidelines, and it does not 
represent and should not be construed to represent Agency policy or 
views. EPA utilizes public comments as one means to ensure that science 
products are complete and accurate. EPA is seeking comments from the 
public on all aspects of the report, including the scientific and 
technical information presented in the report, the hypothetical mining 
scenario used, the data and information used to inform assumptions 
about mining activities and the evaluations of risk to the fishery, and 
the potential mitigation measures considered (and effectiveness of 
those measures). EPA is also specifically seeking any additional data 
or scientific or technical information about Bristol Bay resources or 
large-scale mining that should be considered in our evaluation.
    EPA will consider any public comments submitted in accordance with 
this notice when revising the document. After public review and 
comment, EPA's independent contractor, Versar, Inc., will convene an 
expert panel for independent external peer review of this draft 
assessment. The public comment period and external peer review meeting 
are separate processes that provide opportunities for all interested 
parties to comment on the assessment. The preferred method to submit 
comments is through the docket, which is described below. Public 
meetings will be held in Anchorage, Dillingham, Newhalen, Naknek, 
Nondalton, and New Stuyahok, AK during the week of June 4-8, 2012. 
Spoken comments will be accepted at these meetings. The external peer 
review panel meeting is scheduled to be held in Anchorage, AK on August 
7, 8, and 9, 2012. The public will be invited to attend on August 7 and 
8, 2012. Further information regarding the external peer review panel 
meeting will be announced at a later date in the Federal Register.

II. How To Submit Technical Comments to the Docket at 
www.regulations.gov

    Submit your comments, identified by Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-ORD-2012-
0276, by one of the following methods:
     www.regulations.gov: Follow the on-line instructions for 
submitting comments.
     Email: ORD.Docket@epa.gov. Include the docket number EPA-
HQ-ORD-2012-0276 in the subject line of the message.
     Fax: 202-566-1753.
     Mail: Office of Environmental Information (OEI) Docket 
(Mail Code: 2822T), Docket  EPA-HQ-ORD-2012-0276, U.S. 
Environmental Protection Agency, 1200 Pennsylvania Ave. NW., 
Washington, DC 20460. The phone number is 202-566-1752. If you provide 
comments by mail, please submit one unbound original with pages 
numbered consecutively, and three copies of the comments. For 
attachments, provide an index, number pages consecutively with the 
comments, and submit an unbound original and three copies.
     Hand Delivery: The OEI Docket is located in the EPA 
Headquarters Docket Center, Room 3334, EPA West Building, 1301 
Constitution Ave. NW., Washington, DC. The EPA Docket Center Public 
Reading Room is open from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through 
Friday, excluding legal holidays. The telephone number for the Public 
Reading Room is 202-566-1744. Deliveries are only accepted during the 
docket's normal hours of operation, and special arrangements should be 
made for deliveries of boxed information. If you provide comments by 
hand delivery, please submit one unbound original with pages numbered 
consecutively, and three copies of the comments. For attachments, 
provide an index, number pages consecutively with the comments, and 
submit an unbound original and three copies.
     Comment at a public meeting: Spoken comments will be taken 
at public meetings during June 4-8, 2012. A court reporter will provide 
a transcription of comments received at the Anchorage and Dillingham 
meetings for the docket. Audio recording and written notes will be 
taken for the docket for comments spoken at Naknek, Newhalen, New 
Stuyahok, and Nondalton.
    Instructions: Direct your comments to Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-ORD-
2012-0276. Please ensure that your comments are submitted within the 
specified comment period. Comments received after the closing date will 
be marked ``late,'' and may only be considered if time permits. It is 
EPA's policy to include all comments it receives in the public docket 
without change and to make the comments available on-line at 
www.regulations.gov, including any personal information provided, 
unless a comment includes information claimed to be Confidential 
Business Information (CBI) or other information whose disclosure is 
restricted by statute. Do not submit information that you consider to 
be CBI or otherwise protected through www.regulations.gov or email. The 
www.regulations.gov Web site is an ``anonymous access'' system, which 
means EPA will not know your identity or contact information unless you 
provide it in the body of your comment. If you send an email comment 
directly to EPA without going through www.regulations.gov, your email 
address will be automatically captured and included as part of the 
comment that is placed in the public docket and made available on the 
Internet. If you submit an electronic comment, EPA recommends that you 
include your name and other contact information in the body of your 
comment and with any disk or CD-ROM you submit. If EPA cannot read your 
comments due to technical difficulties and cannot contact you for 
clarification, EPA may not be able to consider your comments. 
Electronic files should avoid the use of special characters and any 
form of encryption and be free of any defects or viruses. For 
additional information about EPA's public docket, visit the EPA Docket 
Center homepage at www.epa.gov/epahome/dockets.htm.
    Docket: Documents in the docket are listed in the 
www.regulations.gov--index. Although listed in the index, some 
information is not publicly available, e.g., CBI or other information 
whose disclosure is restricted by statute. Certain other material, such 
as copyrighted material, will be publicly

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available only in hard copy. Publicly available docket materials are 
available either electronically at www.regulations.gov or in hard copy 
at the OEI Docket in the EPA Headquarters Docket Center.

    Dated: May 21, 2012.
Darrell Winner,
Acting Director, National Center for Environmental Assessment.
[FR Doc. 2012-12808 Filed 5-24-12; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 6560-50-P