10 May 2013

Keystone Center science panels finish up with lingering questions

keystone2Two days of Keystone Center science panels concluded this Tuesday with a focus on the transportation corridor study area and a final wrap-up of reviewer comments and discussion points that ranged from detailed to philosophical. Questions by the independent scientists involved in the review included basics, such as "What is baseline data?" and "What is the purpose of this document?"

The panels were held May 6 and May 7 at the Consortium Library on the University of Alaska Anchorage campus to review portions of the Pebble Limited Partnership’s (PLP) Environmental Baseline Document (EBD). Panels were structured to allow a dialogue between contracted scientists who had written portions of the EBD, independent scientists who reviewed specific chapters, and members of the public.

Several reviewers noted that while the existing work is voluminous and well-done, it is insufficient as a baseline study. Phil North, recently retired from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and participating as a member of the public, summed it up: "We've heard in all of these sessions that this is very good survey work. There’s a lot more work that still needs to be done, more information that needs to be collected. I want to suggest that the inventory work is probably exceptional, but it’s not very useful without linking it to an ecosystem."

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