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EPA extends Bristol Bay watershed assessment peer reviewer nomination opportunity to March 16

In response to several requests, EPA is extending the public opportunity to nominate peer reviewers for the Bristol Bay watershed assessment for 7 additional days to March 16, 2012.  We are not extending the comment period for a longer amount of time for the following reasons:

·        EPA has provided frequent advance notices of our intent to request peer reviewers.  Every schedule we have shared with the public since August 2011 has included this item.

·        In addition to names submitted by the public, many qualified scientists are being identified by Versar, the EPA contractor, who will rigorously screen all potential peer reviewers using the criteria outlined in the Federal Register.  This independent and robust search will produce a large pool of qualified candidates.  Versar will develop a list of 20 carefully vetted candidates from which they will select the final 10 person panel.  

·        This is an optional public engagement activity for EPA.  We do not typically extend this opportunity to the public, but want to do so in this case because of the high level of public engagement in this assessment.

·        There are no documents or records to review, which would warrant a longer comment period.

With the extension, there are now 21 days to nominate peer reviewers.  We feel this is adequate time to build a pool of candidates.  

EPA values your participation in the watershed assessment process.  Please note that there will be an additional brief public comment period to weigh in on the charge to the peer reviewers in late March.  There will also be a public comment period of 60 days when the draft EPA watershed assessment is released in late April.

For more information about EPA’s assessment of Bristol Bay, visit:
www.epa.gov/region10/bristolbay

To submit a nomination, visit this website:
http://www.versar.com/epa/bristolbaynominationform.html  

To view the Federal Register Notice, visit:
http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2012-02-24/html/2012-4325.htm

To read EPA's press release announcing the peer review nomination process, visit:
http://yosemite.epa.gov/opa/admpress.nsf/names/r10_2012-2-24_bristol_bay_peer_panel

For more information about the EPA peer review process:
http://www.epa.gov/peerreview/

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