Commercial fishermen and other leaders of the Bristol Bay region are asking the US Army Corps of Engineers to formally relax the timeline for development of their final environmental impact statement (EIS) and extend the deadline for cooperating agencies to comment on the preliminary final EIS.
Given the major disruptions caused all across the nation as a result of the novel coronavirus, everyone’s immediate attention is focused, as it should be, on stemming its spread, the five Bristol Bay leaders told Colonel Phillip Borders, the district commander for the USACE at Joint Base Elemendorf-Richardson in Anchorage, Alaska.
Nevertheless, they said, there is also the reality for their other ongoing work, including the National Environmental Policy Act evaluation of the project. “With requirements for social distancing, offices shut down or minimally staffed, the challenges of teleworking and because the impacts of the COVID-19 virus will last for an uncertain amount of time, extensions of the timeline and preliminary final environmental impact statement comment deadline are necessary,” they said.
The letter was signed by Andy Wink, executive director of Bristol Bay Regional Seafood Development Association; Katherine Carscallen, executive director of Commercial Fishermen for Bristol Bay; Norm Van Vactor, president and chief executive officer of the Bristol Bay Economic Development Corp.; Jason Metrokin, president and chief executive officer of Bristol Bay Native Corp.; Ralph Andersen, president and chief executive officer of Bristol Bay Native Association; Robert Heyano, president of United Tribes of Bristol Bay; and Robert Kehoe executive director of the Bristol Bay Reserve.
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