The link to submit public comments concerning the Bristol Bay Area Plan Amendment 2012 was unintentionally turned off a day early, says DNR.
DILLINGHAM: The website where users can provide public comment to DNR about the Bristol Bay Area Plan Amendment 2012 will remain open until 11:59pm Tuesday, roughly 24 hours longer than expected. The extension comes after the website was shut down for several hours Monday before the deadline.
Bruce Phelps, DNR's Chief of Resource Assessment and Development Section, said it was an accident.
"Apparently what happened is that the website went down around midnight on Sunday," said Phelps. "A person, I think from the Dillingham area, called us in the morning [Monday], around 8:30, and indicated that the website was down. We took the problem to our Information Technology people, and they had the website back up by 9:00. It was open and remained active until 2:01 Tuesday morning."
Still, some folks trying to put in their public comments last minute Monday found the website would not accept them. As a remedy, DNR will leave the website through Tuesday to collect any remaining comments from the public.
Why the link was closed early isn't clear. Phelps said the first thought was that there were more comments coming in last minute than the website could handle. Whether or not that's to blame, apparently a lot of comments were submitted over the weekend.
"I don't know the actual number in the last couple days, but it was substantial, and we probably have over 500 comments," he said.
The original deadline to submit public comments was April 4, but DNR extended that to May 6 following pressure from six area tribes, Trout Unlimited, and AIFMA. Those groups are working to overturn DNR's 2005 Bristol Bay Area Plan.
To submit a public comment online before the deadline, click here.