More time for comments given on mixing zone measure

Posted: Tuesday, September 14, 2004

A public comment period for a controversial water pollution rule change has been extended to Nov. 1.

The Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation wants to relax its ban of mixing zones in fish spawning areas. Mixing zones are areas in a water body where elevated levels of pollution are allowed to be discharged and diluted by the receiving water.

The proposed change would allow mixing zones "in certain fish spawning areas where there will be no effect on the capability of an area to support fish spawning, rearing or incubation," according to the agency's revised public notice on the rule change.

Some Alaska industries support the proposal but environmental groups, sport fishermen and some state legislators have expressed concern because of the rule change's possible impact on the clean reputation of Alaska streams and fisheries.

No one spoke in favor of the proposal at a Juneau public hearing in July. Additionally, residents, environmentalists and state legislators complained that the agency initiated and planned to close the public comment period while commercial fishermen were at sea.

The original comment period ended Sept. 10.

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